[This post contains spoilers from the Bachelor In Paradise finale.]
The pandemic and Chris Harrison being fired couldn’t stop Bachelor In Paradise from coming back this year, corralling Bachelor Nation stars on a beach in Mexico. This time, three lucky couples ended up engaged: Joe Amabile (a.k.a. Grocery Store Joe) was coupled up on Paradise… again. But despite having a run-in with his ex Kendall, he proposed to Serena Pitt from Matt James’ season. Kenny Braasch also put a ring on Mari Pepin, despite a bumpy start to their relationship (and taking Demi Burnett to the “boom-boom room”).
The other couple to get engaged during the finale made Bachelor Nation history. Maurissa Gunn and Riley Christian became the first Black couple on the whole franchise to get engaged. Gunn, who made her Bachelor debut on Peter Weber’s season, posted a screenshot on her Instagram story of a tweet by Cheray Brown, that reads:
History (that was overdue) has been made in Bachelor History. Riley and Maurissa are the first Black couple to be engaged in Bachelor Nation. Finally. It’s been way overdue with all the white couples, and interracial couples. It’s about time we get the representation.
So far, Bachelor Nation has only had one Black Bachelor: Matt James, who starred in the 18th season (he disappointingly picked the racist lady). The Bachelorette has fared better with having Black Bachelorettes, though. The first one was Rachel Lindsay, who made history in the franchise as the first Black person who got strangers vying for a chance to fall in love with her in 2017.
She quickly became a fan-favorite, but her experience wasn’t very positive. She recently spoke out about how the Bachelor Nation producers cast men of color who seemingly hadn’t dated a Black woman before. At the end of her season, Lindsay got engaged to Bryan Abasolo. They got married in 2019.
Then, in 2020, when Clare Crawley picked Dale Moss as the only man she set her heart on, Tayshia Adams (who won fans over on Colton Underwood’s season and Bachelor In Paradise) was brought in to replace Crawley for the rest of the season. She got engaged to Zac Clark.
The next Bachelorette will also be a Black woman: Michelle Young, who was the runner-up on James’ season. As Ziwe pointed out on her show during her chat with Lindsay, all Black Bachelors and Bachelorettes have picked white people (Abasolo is white and Latino), so Gunn and Christian’s engagement is a major moment of representation in the franchise, showing that Black love stories can happen on Bachelor Nation—and those moments can be appreciated by the franchise’s fans, too.