*“Bachelorette”Star Tayshia Adams opened up about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement during a rare conversation about race on the hit dating series.
Adams confessed to biracial contestant Ivan Hall on Tuesday’s episode that the death of George Floyd changed her perspective as a Black/Latina woman. She became emotional during their date while explaining her experience as a woman of color in America.
“Being in Orange County and surrounded by a lot of people that don’t look like me — being the only person that looks like me — I’m realizing that I’ve been trying so hard my whole life to blend in because I knew I was different,” said Adams of her California upbringing. “I didn’t really want to cry about it or open up about it, but hearing people yell ‘Black Lives Matter,’ it hit me more than I realize just because those are people in my backyard that I’ve been trying to prove for so long that I’m the same as them.”
— Tayshia Adams (@tayshia) November 24, 2020
Hall also shared his own experience as man of color, and recalled how his younger brother was mistreated in prison by correctional officers.
Adamsl told the camera, “He understands me more than anybody else can. That’s obviously what I’ve been looking for.”
The casting of Adams and the discussion about race comes months after Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black lead, called out the “Bachelor” franchise for “systemic racism.”
In response, producers diversified the popular series both in front of and behind the camera.
“We made a concerted effort, before the pandemic, to make better strides for diversity and let people see themselves and their love represented on the show,” host and producer Chris Harrison told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think the best thing we ever did was realizing and admitting there was an issue, and then saying, ‘Let’s get to work and let’s do better.'”
Speaking to the publication earlier in the season about starring on the show, Adams said: “Not only am I African American, but I am Mexican, and I’m going to have an opportunity to have a platform to relate to so many women who look like me, who haven’t had the opportunity to relate to someone in the past. How can you not want to take that opportunity and be an amazing role model for people? That was something that I took on and was really excited to be able to do.”