The Struggle is Real at the ‘Bachelor’ Pad
There’s a new man in town and his name is Emmanuel Acho.
The former NFL linebacker was tapped to host the “Bachelor” finale when perennial host Chris Harrison stepped away as racially-charged drama swirled around the lucrative franchise.
Favored finalist Rachael Kirkconnell was outted for celebrating antebellum culture and other bigotries. Harrison awkwardly defended her.
Emmanuel Acho was ready for the close-up. His sit-down with Kirkconnell was peak reality TV. Acho asked the right questions and he gave context.
“History is meant to be remembered, not celebrated,” was a scolding, but Acho delivered it like a big brother to a younger sibling. He didn’t push Kirkconnell to answer what steps she was taking to educate herself. He just let the silence hang there.
That set-up was the perfect frame for bachelor Matt James’s break-up with Kirkconnell. If she didn’t understand his experience as a Black man, there’d be no honeymoon.
It wasn’t as gripping an event as Oprah with the royals. (Note: both are ABC shows). But Acho analyzed, he listened and he asked touchy questions. His name is now being bandied about as the next bachelor. But that will never happen.
It took 25 seasons for the show to respond to accusations of racism. It cast a Black man, and like clockwork, racism broke out of its paper thin restraints.
Matt James, a real estate broker, is bi-racial. He bears all the markings of respectability — caramel-colored skin, manageable hair and features that are softened ever so slightly. He’s a handsome enough bloke, as is Acho. And yes, there is a focus on looks; this is TV.
They are both fine specimens of male pulchritude, by any mothers’ standards.
But Acho does not present the requisite non-threatening image palatable for television. His darker hue and high-top nap-fro, however neatly faded, disqualify him as a prince charming to a rotating queue of all-American princesses.
But there’s a bigger reason Acho won’t turn up as the next bachelor any time this century; he wouldn’t take the job.
He’s single, but far too erudite to fit into the formulaic search for conscious coupling that steers “The Bachelor.”
He’s made a splash since leaving the NFL in 2016, as an analyst at Fox Sports and writing a 2020 best seller, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.”
The book spawned a YouTube series. In it, Acho adeptly hosts discussions on race and culture. His highest rated clips have 2.6 million views. In August, he interviewed Commissioner Roger Goodell about the NFL’s stance on player protests. Over 300 thousand people viewed the two-part series.
My money is on Emmanuel Acho as the next host of the lucrative series.
Harrison is not a producer on the “The Bachelor.” He is credited, however, as a producer on spin-offs, “Paradise” and “Greatest Seasons Ever.” That means he not only has life after the dust settles, he has clout.
One way he could make clear his understanding of being “woke,” or hasten his journey to “anti-racism,” would be to advocate for Acho being the new host.
Harrison is a sportsman, too. He played soccer in high school and for Oklahoma City University. He was a sports reporter at the local television station there. He knows what’s fair and he has enough sense to know when to call the game.