UPDATE: Lamar Hurd’s assistant Tammie (the same person featured in the video below) tells EW that Hurd now has a meeting with ABC on Monday.
Fans of The Bachelor (myself included) love to complain about the show. Whether it’s the flatness of Ben Flajnik’s hair or the grotesque overuse of the word “journey,” every season gives viewers something to gripe about. But there’s one legitimate complaint that some fans have voiced for the past 16 (!) seasons: Why has there never been a non-white Bachelor? Last year, the show’s creator Mike Fleiss told EW.com that he and his team “always want to cast for ethnic diversity, it’s just that for whatever reason, they don’t come forward. I wish they would.”
Well, Mike, your wish is granted! A movement is afoot to crown Portland-based sportscaster Lamar Hurd as the first black Bachelor. According to his professional-looking audition video (click through to watch), Lamar’s assistant Tammy first came up with the idea to submit an application to ABC on behalf of her boss, whom she describes as “perfect.” While Lamar was initially resistant — “Let’s say I wanted to go on it, and was willing to do it, they haven’t even had a black Bachelor” — he ultimately warmed to the idea and agreed to apply for season 17.
From the looks of this audition video, Lamar has all of the “amazing” “qualities” a man needs to hold the position of Chief Rose Giver. He’s telegenic, comfortable on camera, humble (“I do not date a lot. I’ve had three girlfriends in my whole life — and only two of them were Facebook official!”) and he looks really good with his shirt off. Plus, he seems to possess a measured, borderline-milquetoast personality that Team Bachelor looks for in a leading man — ultimately, they want a blank slate with washboard abs onto whom viewers can project their romantic hopes, dreams, and fantasies. And Lamar is easy to please! “This whole ‘ultimate date’ thing is tough for me, because I’m so simple,” he explains in the video. “If I’m with somebody I truly love, we could just be sitting on the couch watching infomercials for all I care.” A guy who understands the entertainment value of the Hercules Hook? Now that man’s a keeper!
It’s unclear whether ABC and Team Bachelor would ever consider the idea of a non-white Bachelor. And if they did, how would they fill the mansion? Common sense would dictate that ABC would want a diverse group of young women vying for the Bachelor’s love — no matter what color he is. But if the past several seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are any indication, the show has stopped prioritizing diversity when it comes to casting the women and men competing for roses. So would producers take the same approach with Lamar and cast just African-American ladies?
Most likely, it will come down to one question for ABC: Is America ready for the first black Bachelor? I think we can all agree that most fans of the show have been ready for years, and would welcome a change from the franchise’s tired Give the Runner-Up Guy the Job formula. And after last season’s subpar ratings, what better way to re-energize the show than by doing something bold that will get people talking? The goodwill Team Bachelor would earn with the audience would far outweigh the inevitable criticism, and the show would likely gain new viewers, too. But that’s just my take, rose lovers. What do you think?