Matt James will be the first Black leading man in the history of the "Bachelor" franchise and its former stars could not be more excited.
The 28-year-old has become a familiar face to "Bachelor" fans. He's best friends with fan favorite Tyler Cameron, who was the runner up on Hannah Brown's season.
Cameron was one of the first to congratulate James. He marked the occasion by sharing an adorable photo of the two of them leaning on each other as they slept in the backseat of a car.
"This is all a testament of who you are as a person. Now the world gets to see the person you are and the heart you have. You can change the world," Cameron wrote. "Proud of you and so excited for you."
"Not excited that somebody will be taking my spot as your snuggle buddy," he added.
Former "Bachelorette" Hannah Brown got to know James when she spent time with him and Cameron as part of their "quarantine crew." The friends often posted videos of their workouts and hilarious moments they spent together in lockdown.
"I cannot contain my excitement for this amazing human making history as the first Black Bachelor— to God be the Glory!" Brown wrote. "This man is as good as it gets y’all, and that’s coming from a previous skeptic (lolz). I am so blessed to now call you friend. You’ve supported and encouraged me in some of the hardest moments lately and I’m so freaking pumped to support and encourage you as you get ready to go on an adventure of a lifetime! #1 Matt James fan right here! "
Jason Tartick, who starred on Becca Kufrin's season and is now dating former "Bachelorette" Kaitlyn Bristowe, also shared his excitement for James. He called the announcement "fan-f---ing-tastic."
Former "Bachelor" star Sean Lowe, who now has three children with the winner of his season, Catherine Giudici, tweeted that he was excited about the news and "looking forward to seeing a season without a recycled bachelor too."
Producers usually cast a contestant from a previous season of the show. James has never appeared on the franchise, but was originally set to be a contestant on Clare Crawley's season, which was delayed due to the coronavirus.
"I just woke up and saw some amazing progress!" tweeted Nick Viall, who appeared on two seasons of "The Bachelorette," "Bachelor in Paradise" and went on to star in a season of "The Bachelor."
Rachel Lindsay, who was a contestant on Viall's season, was the first Black lead in the franchise. She's now married to Bryan Abasolo, who proposed to her at the end of her season.
Lindsay spoke out about the lack of diversity in the franchise earlier this month. A petition for more diversity in the franchise was signed by more than 85,000 people, including Lindsay, Viall and JoJo Fletcher.