Reminder: There Was A Black Bachelor Before UnReal Came Along

UnReal returns tonight with what we're certain is going to be a formidable sophomore season, and the new bachelor on Everlasting — the reality dating show within the show — has been making headlines for months. Why? Because Darius Beck, fictional football star and man candy du jour, happens to be a Black dude. UnReal may be getting a lot of credit for outstripping the real-life Bachelor by putting actor B.J. Britt at the center of this season. But it's actually not the first series to make such a move. Match Made in Heaven, which is in its second season on WE tv, revealed America's first Black bachelor back in 2015. Hosted by comedian Sherri Shepherd, Match featured former NFL player Stevie Baggs, who had to narrow down a bevy of 18 contestants to just one. Match follows the same premise as The Bachelor, and, by extension, UnReal's Everlasting: Braggs spends time getting to know the women, texting them instead of handing off roses to let them know they're still in the running at the end of each episode. It also seems to have a slight religious bent, due to the presence of Pastor Ken — a former pro footballer himself and a font of spiritual guidance on the series — and an interesting sabotage gimmick, which allows the women to interrupt one another's dates with Braggs, should they give into the temptation. So why isn't WE tv getting props for casting a Black bachelor ahead of the game? Part of it might have to do with the overall reach of the channel — it could also be that Match just isn't as scintillating as UnReal, which is aimed at unearthing the dastardly goings-on behind the scenes of salacious reality TV. But the fact is that Match beat out all the rest when it came to putting a Black man at the center of a search for everlasting love. For some reason, when that actually happened in real life — not on a scripted satire of reality TV dating — the milestone was glossed over.

More from TV

R29 Original Series