Now that Clare Crawley (and perhaps Tayshia Adams) have reportedly found love, it's time for someone else to find love. Matt James' season of The Bachelor has officially begun filming, as the ABC Food Tours founder revealed on September 22 that he was about to give up his phone and social media accounts ahead of production. "See y’all in 2 months," Matt wrote on Twitter, along with a peace-hand and red heart emoji.
The 28-year-old also gave two important members of Bachelor Nation a shout-out before heading to the Pennsylvania resort where filming will reportedly take place. According to Us Magazine, in addition to wishing Hannah Brown — who he called "Breezyy" on his Instagram Story — a "happy (early) birthday," Matt shared a touching tribute to his best friend, Tyler Cameron. "What a crazy 6 months," Matt wrote to his buddy, alongside a photo of them from a recent fishing trip. "I love you brother, wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you an [your] mama," he said, referring to Tyler's late mother, Andrea Cameron, who died from a brain aneurysm in March. "Oh & I’ll be back, with a plus one."
In June, Matt, who was originally set to compete on Clare's season before being chosen as the first Black Bachelor, told Entertainment Tonight that Andrea was actually the person who nominated him to be a contestant on The Bachelorette. (Because he was announced as the new Bachelor before Clare began filming, he will not actually appear on her season after all.) "[Andrea] would be happy to know that I followed through with it," Matt said at the time. "She had nominated me and I think she saw everything that it did for Tyler and the way that he had changed as a man, and me being his roommate and being one of her sons, I think that she wanted something like that for myself."
After production on Bachelorette was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, ABC ultimately decided to make him the franchise's next lead, and in June, announced that Matt would be the first Black Bachelor. "When filming [Clare’s season] couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor," ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said in a statement at the time.
The former football player has been open about the significance of his role as the first Black Bachelor, and revealed that many of his loved ones are also looking forward to seeing the impact he has on the franchise. "I’ve heard from a lot of my Black friends that aren’t Bachelor Nation faithful that are excited about me and honored that I’m in the position I’m in and have this opportunity to just represent what it’s going to look like to have diverse relationships and tell those love stories," Matt said during the June 29 episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever. "I couldn’t be more excited about that."
And he's hoping that the push for more diversity on the Bachelor doesn't end with him. During a June interview with Good Morning America, Matt said that he wants to be just '"the first of many black men to be in the position I'm at now," adding, "I'm hoping that when that limo pulls up, there's a lot of diversity and I see every type of woman coming out of that limo."
Tyler, meanwhile, told Chris Harrison that he's hoping that among all of those (hopefully diverse) contestants on Matt's season, there will be "someone who kind of resembles his mother," to be his perfect match. "His mother is one of the sweetest ladies, very loving, caring, compassionate, ready to serve others, help out in the community," he said during a Bachelor: GOAT interview. "Matt's going to change the world. And [he needs] someone that's going to take on that challenge with him."