Matt James is an American television personality, entrepreneur, and activist, most recently known for his historical role as the first Black male lead on ABC’s hit show, The Bachelor.
Born and raised by a single mother in Raleigh, NC, Matt quickly took an interest in sports, specifically football, where he formed friendships that would open his eyes to a world he felt he would never have been exposed to otherwise. After a football career spanning through Wake Forest, the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, Matt realized the capacity at which football and being a part of a team opened doors for him, leading to the idea of what would soon become his future nonprofit, ABC Food Tours.
While living in New York and pursuing a career in finance, Matt co-founded ABC Food Tours, which creates experiences for students facing challenges in food insecurity and adversity at home. Connecting with over 1,500 students and 30 tours thus far, the goal is to provide opportunities for underprivileged kids on a larger scale, through introducing them to positive role models in professional careers, leadership roles, healthy lifestyles and more, just as football had done for him.
With this mission in mind, he felt called to take on the role as the first Black male lead on The Bachelor, which was announced just four days after the death of George Floyd and in a time of heightened focus on civil rights and racial injustices in both the United States and globally. As James has said, he took the opportunity as a chance to be a role model and positive example of a Black man, for many of whom it may have been “the first time having someone like myself in their home.’” Since the March 2021 season finale, James continues to use his platform of over 1 million followers to encourage important conversations and work as a conduit for social change and awareness.
James has worked with brands including Verizon, American Express, Lululemon and more while serving as a minority owner in Lettuce Grow, a hydroponic farming company aimed to reduce the impact that growing food has on the planet and support children’s programming in urban populations. James is an avid supporter of the Lebron James Family Foundation, Hack the Hood, and the Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) Foundation.
James currently resides in New York City and spends his off time skateboarding, running and fueling his affinity for trying new foods and of course, TikTok.