Toria Sheffield
February 14, 2017 6:49 am

It’s official Bachelor Nation: the next Bachelorette will be Rachel Lindsay — aka the attorney from Dallas who is currently in Nick Viall’s top four on this season of The Bachelor.

Now this is significant for several reasons — for one thing, it definitively tells us Bachelor fans that Rachel and Nick ultimately don’t end up together. But much more importantly, Rachel will be the very first African American main contestant in The Bachelorette’s history.

That’s right — this will be The Bachelorette’s 13th season, and it will be the first time the show has ever cast a Black woman in the leading role. And to this we say: IT’S ABOUT FREAKING TIME.

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There had been talk of actively diversifying the show this past summer when ABC president Channing Dungey spoke at the 2016 Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, saying, “We need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning. That is something we really want to put some effort and energy toward.”

And while many of us secretly had our doubts about whether or not the network would actually follow through, Nick Viall’s current season of The Bachelor has been one of the most diverse seasons to date (and since traditionally, the Bachelorette is a fan favorite chosen from the most recent season of The Bachelor, it definitely helped create this positive change).

A surge of people have tweeted their support for Rachel after the news was announced, as well as their support of ABC’s effort to diversify. Even Nick Viall put in his two cents in a two-part tweet:

We couldn’t agree more.

And it sounds like Rachel is totally ready for her next big adventure. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel on his show, she said,

She went on to say, “It wasn’t that long after I got off the show that I was approached, but I honestly thought that they were doing it just to make me feel better from the heartbreak. And then as it kept going, I realized, ‘All right, they’re actually serious about this thing.'”

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And as much as Rachel is so much more than the color of her skin (and so it might seem counterintuitive for us to focus on it so much after the big announcement), the truth of the matter is that representation and inclusion on TV is so incredibly important, and we have to take a moment to celebrate this big step forward for a franchise watched by literally millions of Americans.

So excited for the next season of The Bachelorette! Rachel has been one of our absolute favorites on The Bachelor this year, and we are so stoked to continue following her on her journey!