First Impressions: Off Screen Conversations with a Bachelor on Race, Family, and Forgiveness (Hardcover)
Matt James, the first Black bachelor on ABC’s beloved television show, The Bachelor, shares his views on the controversial topics that defined his season and confronts matters of race, opportunity, and his biracial identity head on.When The Bachelor franchise announced Matt James as the first Black lead, it was celebrated as long-overdue progress on the primetime show. America fell in love with Matt—the Christian, former NFL athlete, and nonprofit CEO—who charmed millions of viewers each week. But the off-screen conversations around the show revealed the realities and inescapable challenges of being Black in America and the depth of racism that still exists.
On the show, Matt could only go so far in sharing his own story with America. In First Impressions, Matt shares his views on controversial topics like race and opportunity that defined his season on The Bachelor. Matt lives at the intersection of these important issues and shares the wisdom his experience has granted him.
Matt describes the joys and difficulties of being the youngest of two Black sons, raised by a single, working-class, white mother in Raleigh, North Carolina. He elaborates on the spiritual closeness and sense of duty he felt for his mother, but also the complex relationships he had with the many male figures in his life: his prejudiced, Italian grandfather, who had trouble accepting Matt as his own; his father, whose womanizing and petty crime put strain on the family; and his older brother, who was Matt’s protector in youth, but who struggled with the long shadow of their father’s legacy.
Simultaneously inspirational and informative, First Impressions will leave readers with a deeper understanding of the life experiences that prepared Matt for such a divisive moment in television history.
Over the past year, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Matt off-camera. He is a lover of people, a servant of his community, and a man of faith. You may have met the man on-screen, but get to know the person, and a journey, that will move your heart and open your eyes to a life one could only imagine living.—Emmanuel Acho, Emmy Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
I thought I learned everything there is to know about Matt during quarantine…turns out I was wrong. He’s such a great human and his book has something for EVERYONE. You will not regret buying this book!!—Hannah Brown, TV personality and New York Times bestselling author
Matt bares his whole soul in this book. First Impressions is a moving and raw look into Matt’s life, and I couldn’t be more excited for the world to experience it.—Suni Lee, Olympic gold medalist
The real Matt is in between the pages of this book—complex, multifaceted, complicated. You walk away from this book knowing so much more than you saw on-screen, and trust me, you won’t be disappointed.—Kenya Moore, TV personality
Matt’s willingness to be vulnerable, honest, and self-reflective about himself is a refreshing read and emblematic of the kind man he is and the buoyant spirit he has.—Melora Hardin
Matt James is one person that is not afraid to use his platform. During TheBachelor and Dancing with the Stars, the world got to see a glimpse of the many layers of MJ. This book will really let you behind the veil to see the struggle, everything he has faced and overcome. Through it all, he stays grounded in who he is and never loses sight of his purpose. I’m honored to call Matt a friend and a brother. Get ready for a book that has the power to bring us all together and help guide us to really start understanding each other.—Jimmie Allen