First Black 'Bachelorette' Rachel Lindsay Says She 'Had To Be A Good Black Girl' During Show
The former Bachelorette star opens up about experiencing racism during her time on the series.
June 22, 2021 at 3:50 pm
One of the contributing factors to Lindsay’s decision to end her relationship with the franchise was the controversial interview that she conducted on Extra with Chris Harrison, former host of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, about Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant on The Bachelor.
Photos surfaced from 2018 of Kirkconnell involved in an Old South slave plantation-themed fraternity formal. Harrison's comments was seen as a defense of Kirkconnell’s racist behavior, with the former host calling out what he described as the “woke police.”
Because of the blowback, Harrison was fired on June 8 after being the host of the franchise since 2002.
“I knew my relationship with The Bachelor was over in February 2021, when Chris Harrison, the host and face of the franchise, showed his true self on national television,” Lindsay wrote of Harrison's interview.
“We had only seen Chris Harrison perform as a host; this was like catching him with a hot mic,” she continued.
Harrison's call for "compassion" for Kirkconnell's racists acts confirmed for Lindsay her feelings of tokenism.
“I was a token until I made sure I wasn’t,” she shared.
— Vulture (@vulture) June 21, 2021
Lindsay also recalled how the entire franchise is built upon racial undertones that made her vision of creating positive change as a contestant that much more strenuous.
“I was a token until I made sure I wasn’t,” she wrote.
"The franchise has spent 19 years cultivating a toxic audience. They have constantly given it a product it wants: a Midwestern/Southern white, blond, light-eyed Christian," Lindsay added.
“Not all viewers are like that. My Higher Learning [podcast] co-host and I have divided it — there is a Bachelor Nation, and there is a Bachelor Klan. Bachelor Klan is hateful, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and homophobic. They are afraid of change. They are afraid to be uncomfortable. They are afraid when they get called out,” she continued.
"I had to be a good Black girl, an exceptional Black girl. I had to be someone the viewer could accept. And I was a token until I made sure I wasn’t," she writes.
As time went on, Lindsay felt that it became more difficult to deal with the racism during her time on the show. She said the racist behavior of her fellow contestants made being a part of the series almost impossible.
"In May 2020, things grew untenable," she said. "A video of former Bachelorette Hannah Brown saying the N-word surfaced. I talked to her privately. I publicly held her accountable. It became a news story around the time of George Floyd’s murder. I started to get depressed watching what was happening to my community,” she argued.
“I couldn’t take three steps without crying. Protesting was the only thing that gave me relief. That June, I said I would begin to 'disassociate' from the franchise if it didn’t make meaningful changes," she added.
Although Lindsay is happy with the messaging of the article, she does take issue with the title (Oops, I Blew Up The Bachelor) which she describes as “clickbait.”
"While it was a very collaborative experience, they decided to misrepresent me with the headline that was chosen for the cover," she explained.
As Lindsay dissolves her relationship with the franchise, she says, she’ll “uplift and support” Michelle Young, who was tapped to be the next Black Bachelorette.
“To the franchise, I am no longer a figurehead,” she writes. “I am no longer a spot-filler. I am no longer the face of what is diverse.”