Over the weekend, Hannah Brown of The Bachelorette fame went on Instagram Live, and while singing along to DaBaby's "Rockstar" dropped the N-word.
The video is bizarre, as you can see in real-time the moment Brown comes to the word in the song and then hesitates, clearly processing between the two competing programs running through her system of "this word bad" and "I MUST SING SONG!" Singing the song wins out, so she goes ahead and says the N-word with a "hard r" and everything.
Afterward, she issues an awkward apology where she kind of half-remembers to have said the word and sort of owns up to it ... but then half-pretends that maybe someone else might have said the word, and it just appeared like she said it because apparently she hangs out with racist ventriloquists?
She later went on to issue a more formal apology. But whether you believe that Hannah Brown is racist, or is just a product of extreme ignorance, naivety, and privilege (or if there's a distinction between the two), it belies the larger issue: The Bachelor franchise has a racism problem.
Between both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, the franchise has had just three leads of color in almost 20 years of filming. One of those leads, Juan Pablo Galavis, infamously made homophobic remarks while on his season, so we're not off to a great start. Minority contestants are rarely featured on the show, and when they are, they last about as long as any horror movie not directed by Jordan Peele.
It's gotten better in recent seasons, but again we're long overdue for a black Bachelor. So why does it seem so hard for ABC to get the message?
Well, the easy answer is to say our country is racist. Rachel Lindsay was the first and only black Bachelorette, and her ratings were some of the lowest for the series despite her being pretty, charming, and fun. (She's a former attorney who has hosted an ESPN Radio show with linebacker Bobby Carpenter.) But there's also the chicken and the egg scenario between having so few POC contestants and having so few POC leads. The Bachelor and Bachelorette leads are picked from the pool of contestants from the previous season. If the cast is predominately white, then the next lead will most likely be white, in which case the cast will then be tailored to suit his or her preferences, which are (spoilers) mostly white.
So with Hannah Brown being arguably the biggest star that The Bachelor has produced, it's no wonder that this moment particularly stings for so many people. An apology might be nice, but if The Bachelor franchise wants to start correcting things, it's long past time to get more people of color involved.
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Top Image: ABC