Now That We’re In The Homestretch, How Are You Feeling About Bachelorette Rachel?
With season 13 of the Bachelorette more than halfway done, we’re really starting to get into the good stuff. In the past several weeks of the show we have seen the always amazing Rachel Lindsay whittle down her field of gents from 31 to 4. Left vying for her affections are: Peter, Dean, Eric and Bryan. While tonight’s episode promises to deliver some intrigue, tears and cringe-worthy moments (peep the trailer below), we felt it was about time to take stock of the season as a whole so far and weigh in on whether or not ABC has done Bachelor Nation’s first African-American star justice.
There is no doubt that there have been some highs, some lows and some simply bizarre moments in this season of the Bachelorette. But let’s keep it 100, we always knew that having the first Black woman as the Bachelorette wasn’t going to be smooth sailing for producers (and audiences) that might have been unaccustomed to dealing with people of color as stars or viewers. For instance, we certainly knew there would be moments when racial tensions would present themselves in all their unfortunate glory. The height of this came with good ol’ boy Lee seemingly keeping the show’s Black cast members in his cross-hairs, constantly bad-mouthing select suitors to Rachel and using very charged and historically painful terms like “aggressive.” There have been other times where the discussion of whether particular cast members had dated people of color before or insinuations about Rachel’s color preference have been made. Though I can’t speak to what the majority of Bachelor Nation feels about these incidents, I can easily tell you what a woman of color herself feels about them. While ABC’s handling of some racially-charged situations have been a clear attempt to clumsily showcase the dynamics that exist between brown and white people, as well as within the context of interracial relationships, at least … at the very least … the discussion is attempting to be had.
Don’t get me wrong, there has been a lot of ignorance spewed at times, case in point former Bachelor reject Leah Block. She posted a tweet reading: “I’m sitting here watching @BacheloretteABC and my roommate just sat down on the couch and said, ‘What is this? @LoveAndHipHop_?’ DEAD. “And while she should definitely crawl back under whatever ignorant rock she came out from, incidents like these help to shine a spotlight on the inherent difficulties in navigating the world as a person, particularly, a woman of color. And to her credit, Rachel has handled each of these situations beautifully. She has bluntly asked men on the show if they’ve dated Black women before, how their families would feel about it and also shared her dating history with the men. Rachel has been an open book and has surprised audiences at every turn with her wit, sophistication, strength and honesty.
This leads to the other pat on the back we have to give the show this season: Unlike some Bachelorettes in the past who seem a little on the airhead side (ditsy girls just looking for any privileged dreamboat to sweep her off her feet), Rachel has decided to do things a little differently. She is not about playing games or wasting her time. More so than other stars in previous seasons, Rachel has been unabashedly unafraid to drop the hammer on guys who were just trying to grab their 15 minutes of fame. She has asked them to leave on one-on-one dates, asked them to leave on group dates, asked them to pack their sh-t and leave after she discovers another woman in the picture (we’re looking at you, DeMario). And while the requisite tears were of course shed in some of these cases, there have been moments when Rachel straps on that lawyer hat and goes to town with the cross-examination. It is in those moments that I couldn’t be prouder. She has shown on a national stage, reaching a very mainstream audience, that women of color aren’t just the sassy caricatures we’ve been relegated to in popular culture. We are educated, strong and passionate women who refuse to just be pawns in a man’s chess man. We’re the Grandmaster… b-tch.
So all of this has brought us to hometown visits. Everyone has their favorite part of The Bachelorette’s season in, season out formula, but this is definitely one of our favorites. Each of these men has managed to woo Rachel. Whether it’s Peter’s quiet sincerity, Dean’s adorable playfulness, Bryan’s confident sexy or Eric’s honest appeal, each has brought something to the table that Rachel can see a potential forever life with. However, that can all change on a hometown visit.
As much as you’d like to pretend that you marry the man, you also marry his family. So it will certainly be interesting to see how Rachel fits into each of these men’s worlds. And once they’ve passed that ultimate test, it’ll be Lindsay family’s turn. Will they feel the same way Rachel does about the men shes brought along on this wild journey? While word has already spread that Rachel is engaged at the end of this season, it will definitely be interesting to see who she ultimately makes that commitment to. With very different men, from different backgrounds and parts of the country in the mix, the next few weeks will prove monumental in showing what happens when feelings of love are put to the test in as close to the real world as we can get in Bachelor Nation.