You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

Did ABC just disrespect the first black ‘Bachelorette’?


Imagine you’re the last of a large family to get married, and everyone at your sister’s wedding is excited about your upcoming one, which is sure to be as lavish and over-the-top as everyone else’s. So in between “The Electric Slide’ and “The Cupid Shuffle,” your dad grabs the mic and says “Surprise! Your dream wedding starts NOW!”

RELATED: THE FIRST BLACK ‘BACHELORETTE’

All of a sudden they’re slapping a fake veil on your head - you’re still wearing the bridesmaid’s dress from your sister’s shindig. They’ve even propped you up against a cardboard cutout of the Mexican resort you wanted to go to and expect you to be excited about it. And even though you smile and wave and hug Grandma, all the while you’re thinking “Daggone! Can’t a girl get her own thing?”

This, more or less, is the fate that befell the effervescent Rachel Lindsay, who was recently named the first African-American lead in ABC’s never-ending “The Bachelor/The Bachelorette” franchise. On Monday night’s season finale of “The Bachelor,” on which perennial runner-up Nick Viall finally got a woman to agree to marry him, Lindsay was greeted with enthusiastic applause and a lot of questions from host Chris Harrison about how excited she must be to start her season. And then Harrison announced a surprise, one he’d been promising all evening - Rachel’s season was about to start now. That moment. In a studio, tacked on to the engagement of the dude who dumped her.

Yay?

And just like that, Lindsay was meeting four of her future suitors, driven onto the set in a limo, literally against a backdrop of the Bachelor mansion. A backdrop, y’all, like the fake Old West saloons you get goofy photos taken in front of at the fair. She didn’t even get the fancy dress or the silly, melodramatic voiceovers where that year’s Bachelor or Bachelorette looks soulfully into the ocean and talks about their hopes and dreams. She got no preparation to meet a group that, Harrison breathlessly reminded her, could include her future husband, like a white guy who actually told a “Once you go black, you never go back” joke. This should have immediately gotten him run over with the limo.

Did I mention the dude who dumped her was still in the building? It was cute and all, and she handled it like a champ, but I swear I saw in Lindsay’s eyes the slightest hint of “I don’t even get a real building?”

Of course, every part of this thing is overproduced and full of artifice, and it’s not like Lindsay’s tackling Rosa Parks levels of Civil Rights history here - she’s an apparently successful lawyer, daughter of a Federal judge and now the lead of a silly dating show. But a woman of color being the sought-after one is a big deal, not just in this franchise, but in this culture that treats us like curiosities or sexual conquests but not the ones you bring home to Mama. So any suggestion that Lindsey’s “Bachelorette” reign is important enough to be ratings bait but not enough to get its own, separate, fanfare, feels like an asterisk.

It would be tempting to believe that her historic casting has something to do with the rush, that somebody at ABC is so nervous how America will deal with a black Bachelorette and the chance of a possible, eventual interracial match that they want to keep the momentum going before somebody gets mad. I mean, I’m sure somebody’s already mad, but not enough to tank the ratings.

After all, the network was so pumped to announce Lindsay’s upcoming position that they scooped their own season, publicizing her tenure weeks before the end of this season, while she was still occurring in previously-shot episodes as still in the running for Nick Viall’s heart. Of course, Nick’s season was pretty snoozy, and more than one fan has suggested ABC wanted to get ahead of Internet spoilers and keep people interested.

And after Nick’s televised engagement to Vanessa, a pretty Canadian with whom he appears to have no chemistry, maybe the producers were like “No one’s gonna hang around for the third hour…wait…Is Rachel still here?” No matter what the reasoning, no matter how pretty they dress her when she finally gets to the Bachelor mansion and meets the remaining 16 suitors who hopefully have better jokes, a little of the shine has been taken away.

It reminds me a little of the Oscar night debacle when the team from “Moonlight” found out they were first movie with a predominately black cast and the first with LGBTQ themes to win Best Picture, not from Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway reading their name from the envelope and hearing their theme music played as they stream to the stage, but in a thudding swirl of confusion. It wasn’t done on purpose, and the poor folks from “La La Land” had to give the Oscars they’d legitimately thought they’d just won to someone else. But that moment will always be tainted, always be less than everyone deserved.

RELATED: THE 30 BEST FLORIDA FILMS, RANKED

No matter what happens, Rachel’s season is going to be a little less shiny. Yeah, it’s a silly show. But if she’s gonna get to do it, she should get to be as shiny as everyone else.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community

Five top things to do on Saturday
Five top things to do on Saturday

1. ON A BOAT Palm Beach International Boat Show, West Palm Beach Waterfront One of the top five boat shows in the country, the event will feature more than $1.2 billion worth of boats, yachts and accessories from the world’s leading marine manufacturers. The show, now in its 32nd year, will also feature seminars, kids fishing clinics, live music...
To Do List: Drumline at PBSC; Linda Lavin live; yoga and brew
To Do List: Drumline at PBSC; Linda Lavin live; yoga and brew

1. NOT SAD, NOT SHY Linda Lavin “My First Farewell Concert,” Crest Theatre at Old School Square This Tony Award-winning actress and singer’s new show features some of her best-known songs and stories. In addition to the stage she played the title character on the hit show “Alice.” The shows are 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday...
PAINT THE TOWN!
PAINT THE TOWN!

If you want to understand Lake Worth in 15 minutes, stop by the Lake Worth Art League. Never heard of it, you say? Neither had I — and I grew up in Lake Worth and still live there. I stopped by the league in its corner shop at 604 Lucerne Ave. the other day, and now I get it: The Lake Worth Art League is like Lake Worth itself, and you need to...
COTTAGE LIFE

Lake Worth’s cottages — painted in whimsical colors and draped by a canopy of trees — are not only its gems but also a key part of its history. By “cottage,” we mean a house, usually set on a 25-foot lot, narrower than standard, with one or two bedrooms and a crawl space below. More than 1,000 historic cottages dot the...
What von Willebrand disease means for your dog

Question: I am looking for a new dog, and I want a Doberman pinscher. I have contacted several breeders, and I fell in love with a really sweet female that is almost 1 year old. She is less expensive than the other puppies that I found for sale. The breeder said it is because she has von Willebrand disease (VWD). I know the disease has to do with bleeding...
More Stories