Myself and most of Bachelor Nation loved how Emmanuel Acho handled himself on The Bachelor’s “After the Final Rose” episode Monday night as he stood in for long-time host Chris Harrison.
If you’re confused as to why someone other than Harrison, who has been apart of the franchise since The Bachelor began back in 2002, was hosting the episode, here’s a quick recap.
Current Bachelor Matt James was the franchise’s first Black Bachelor. While he didn’t get engaged at the end, he did give his final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell. A few weeks back, photos of Kirkconnell at a “plantation-themed” sorority party in 2018, as well as a few others of her sporting offensive costumes, were brought to light. This sparked a lot of discussion both off and online. However, things took a turn for the worse when Harrison spoke up to support Kirkconnell amidst the backlash. While he has since apologized, he has temporarily stepped down from the series.
During the “After the Final Rose” episode, Acho sat down with James one-on-one and James admitted to him that there was “a lot of pressure” put on him and that he was under a lot of scrutiny as the first Black Bachelor. He was being asked to take on the weight of “everything that was going on in the country” regarding social justice. To viewers, it was easy to read between the lines of his comments and see that this pressure clearly overshadowed James’ journey to find love.
Later on in the episode, Acho sat down with Kirkconnell and prompted her to examine her racially insensitive past, asking her questions like “Who do you blame for your ignorance” and inquiring on why it took her so long to apologize for the racist photos that surfaced.
When James joined the two of them, he spent a lot of time saying nothing at all, and the silence was just as impactful as any words that could have come out of his mouth.
But he made it clear that he wasn’t just concerned over something she had done three years ago. He was concerned that he had to explain to her now why something she did three years ago was wrong, and that he’s still having to explain it to her in 2021.
“I didn’t sign up to have this conversation,” he said. “And I knew that I had to take a step back for you to put in that work that you outlined that you needed to do, and that’s something that you gotta do on your own, and that’s why we can’t be in a relationship.”
It was clear throughout the episode that Acho was the right person to host. He is an experienced host. Not only does he currently work for Fox Sports as an analyst, he also hosts a YouTube series called Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man. The series was so successful that he has now written a book with the same title, and has dedicated himself to talking openly about systemic racism with white people specifically.
He was able to facilitate an uncomfortable conversation that we needed to see happen, and honestly should have seen on night one of James’ season.
So even though Harrison has become an iconic part of the franchise, Acho’s excellent hosting job is just further proof that Harrison isn’t the only person capable of the job. Whether Acho is the right man for the job or whether they’ll continue to have guest hosts for the foreseeable future (former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will host the next season of The Bachelorette), it is clear that Harrison should no longer be the host for The Bachelor franchise.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!