'The Bachelorette' Is Back With A New Black Lead

Charity Lawson is looking for her future husband among 25 contestants who are vying for her love.
Charity's journey to find love begins! Twenty-five charming men arrive, ready to make a lasting impression and win her heart.
Charity's journey to find love begins! Twenty-five charming men arrive, ready to make a lasting impression and win her heart.
Craig Sjodin/ABC

On Monday night, ABC is set to premiere the 20th season of its popular series “The Bachelorette.”

Charity Lawson, who viewers got to know in the most recent season of “The Bachelor,” will begin handing out roses to contestants who are vying for her love.

Lawson is the fourth Black Bachelorette to head the franchise. She was eliminated from Zach Shallcross’ season of “The Bachelor” in week 8.

The 27-year-old child and family therapist hails from Columbus, Georgia, and comes from a close-knit family, including two brothers and a sister. She is the youngest sibling.

Lawson told Us Weekly on Monday that she fell in love with multiple men on the show, and that there was a diverse group of men available for her to choose from.

“I’m open to dating anyone and any type. So I think they took that quite literally and I’m so grateful for that,” Lawson told Us Weekly. “But also I did make the conscious effort to emphasize too, ‘I definitely want a diverse cast.’ We have seen in the past that it’s kind of just the standard type of men — or girls as well. But definitely wanted to add that diversity piece and also the inclusivity piece of it all. You’ll see that with a lot of the guys and they’re all great.”

HuffPost will be live-blogging this season of “The Bachelorette.” Stay tuned here for more updates.

“The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

Craig Sjodin/ABC

We're Predicting These 'Bachelorette' Men Are Front-Runners

I’ve consumed zero spoilers, done no close-viewing of promos and paid what I confess is 50% attention to this episode given the live-blogging. So I’ll just give a list of men whose names I remember and thus assume are getting some screen time for a reason: one of the Aarons, John, Joey. (It’s quite possible these are also some of the first few guys introduced.) — Elise

Joey's got my vote, too, if only for the time spent on his conversation with Charity earlier in the episode.

No thoughts, just vibes here — but John, Dotun and I dunno who else are top three. — Ruth

I think Aaron B. is definitely a front-runner. If she doesn’t want Dotun, I will have him for myself. — Erin

Erin, that’s how I’m feeling about Joey. Although I do think he could be a front-runner – my picks right now are John and Dotun, and I do think Brayden and Spencer are going to stay around longer than I would like. — Alexandra
Craig Sjodin/ABC

It’s Time To Hand Out The Roses

I am certain that Caleb B., our resident pro wrestler, was a producer pick. I can’t think of any other reason Charity would want to keep seeing his goatee. — Jill

I, for one, am devastated we won’t get to see the jumping guy jump on stuff all around the world. I would’ve enjoyed that! — Elise

Spencer … that was a choice. Would not have been my choice, but nonetheless, a choice. — Ruth

Here are all the men moving on to Week 2: Brayden, Aaron B., John, Xavier, Joey, Caleb B., Warwick, Aaron S., Caleb A., Adrian, James, Sean, Michael, Tanner, Dotun, Caleb K. (so many Calebs!), John Henry, Josh aaaand Spencer. — Jill
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And Charity’s First Impression Rose Goes To ...

Y’all ... I have no words ... that kiss with Brayden must’ve been spiritual or earth-shattering because the math is not mathing. — Ruth

Yep ― turns out Charity liked Brayden’s bragging! A good reminder of a top rule of attraction: It’s not cringey if you find them hot enough. — Elise

I gasped at Charity giving Brayden the first impression rose, but in a way, she’s acting on behalf of every girl: being immediately wooed by a guy with red flags in lieu of giving the ones who will go the distance attention upfront. We’ve all been there. — Alexandra
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Hours Of Nehemiah’s Life In A Fake Mustache For ... That?

Charity seemed surprised that her brother was spying for her, which was confusing because what did she think he was doing, exactly? But also: The producers must have been so disappointed that they didn’t get something juicier. I don’t love Brayden, but “He was really cocky” is some extremely boring villainy for a reality TV show. — Elise

Very valid critique, Elise. I think the 24-year-old in him is just showing, unfortunately. — Ruth

Yeah, this feels like some drama that was concocted just to have some drama in the first episode. Brayden surely is not the first, or even the worst, tool to exist in Bachelor Nation. — Alexandra
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Here's Who Gets Our First Impression Roses On 'The Bachelorette'

James’ mom wrote Charity a letter and sent apple cider and donuts from their apple farm? Is Charity about to ditch this show for a Hallmark holiday movie? — Elise

I love it! Shower her with gifts! I’m a sucker for seeing Black women sought after, going as far back as Lisa Turtle in “Saved by the Bell.” Let’s just hope it’s in a healthy way and, as “Bachelor” viewers always say, “for the right reasons.” Xavier locking lips was a bold move, but I’m not mad at it. I see the potential for a very cute, young Black couple. We shall see! — Ruth

John seems so sweet and pure-hearted. I love that his attraction to Charity stems from seeing himself in her upbringing – I feel like she could sense how genuine he was, too, which is why she went in for the kiss on the first night! — Alexandra

I think John will, hopefully, make it to hometowns. He’s a cutie and seems unproblematic at the moment. — Ruth

Aaron sang a song, which I would usually hate, but it seemed ... OK? She seemed to like it, and him. So maybe I will, too? Although she also seems to like Brayden and nah. — Elise
ABC/Ricky Middlesworth

A 'Bachelorette' Contestant Is Wearing 1 Accessory That Is A Giant Red Flag

Y’all remember how I said Brayden looks like a personal, guaranteed headache? And now, Nehemiah is saying he’s trending toward arrogant? Yeah, the whole aesthetic is …pointing to, um, issues. See how he was running his mouth about that kiss? I hate judging people, but I’m gon’ do it anyway. The tats, earrings and glasses combination? Formidable. Be careful, and tread extremely lightly. — Ruth

Any person who has been through the trenches with dating knows that those frames Brayden is sporting are a red flag — don’t ask me to explain, iykyk. — Alexandra

I need to point out that he’s glasses-less in his cast photo. What is the truth?! — Jill

It reminds me of the 2012-2016 Tumblr era when people would wear glasses because they’re “trendy.” Some of us are actually damn near blind — and got bullied for wearing sports goggles during P.E. Maybe he has contacts, but I’m keeping an eye on him. Hmph. — Ruth
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No One Needed All The 'Bachelorette' Anniversary Cameos

The Bachelorette cameos were extremely boring. We got JoJo, Kaitlyn, Ali, Desiree and more all giving “advice” to someone who’s already wrapped this entire show anyway. Zzzz. — Elise

Like, what was the reason? Is it for ratings? Without the cameos, this premiere could be shorter. — Ruth

This Year's 'Bachelorette' Limo Gimmicks Were Truly Unhinged

The pennies. The towels. The shot glasses. The BACKFLIP? Pack it up, please. — Ruth

I’m a little embarrassed to say it, but I liked the coin flip! BUT, speaking as someone in my 30s: If you date a CrossFit dude, you’re gonna have so much time with them in physical therapy when they get older. You don’t want to be with the jumping guy. Get away or start putting money in your HSA now. — Elise

ELISE! I just cackled a little too hard. I’m trying to figure out what his actual job is, though. My friends and I are wondering how you pay the bills by doing flips & jumps … — Ruth

I will shamefully admit I was charmed by Brayden the travel nurse’s entrance. I’m a sucker for a silly pun, and the “let’s make sure you’re up on your shots” line followed by the reveal of two shot glasses? Cute, effective, memorable. — Jill

Brayden looks like a personal, guaranteed headache. But one thing we do have in common is being 24 and choking on liquor. — Ruth

I cannot accurately express how uncomfortable Spencer’s entrance made me, truly full body chills over how awkward it was; and if I’m feeling viscerally uncomfortable from the comfort of my couch, imagine how my girl Charity felt! — Alexandra

According to some no-doubt-legitimate website that I skimmed quickly to avoid spoilers, Joey is 5’11” and, per him, is the shortest guy here. — Elise

As we say Down South, bless Spencer’s heart. As a tall woman, I envy Charity just because of the height selection. Other than that, I would absolutely not want to be in her position. — Ruth
ABC/Craig Sjodin

'The Bachelorette' Has A Big Twist This Season — And It's Pretty Ridiculous

The little twist with the mystery man showing up would be more interesting if they hadn’t shown it 100x. Send in an ex! Send a guy she used to know when he was a child like, they did with Rachel! That said, it’s a better twist than sending in a racist, like they also did to Rachel, so ... — Elise

Her genuine surprise when her brother stepped out of the limo was so sweet. I can imagine Night One as the lead is a lot of pressure and nervousness, so I bet she was happy to see a familiar face. — Jill

This was very cute, but the disguise was SO unserious. Also, I cannot fathom hearing people talk about my brother in a … sensual manner. I would simply have to pass away. — Ruth

They didn’t even TRY with the disguise, and in a way, I almost have to respect the ridiculousness. Also, I love this twist; I would definitely want my brother doing recon for me in a house full of thirsty men with questionable intentions. I can’t say his assessments would be accurate, but the buffer is an interesting premise nonetheless. — Alexandra
ABC/Craig Sjodin

Who Is Charity Lawson? Here’s Where The ‘Bachelorette’ Franchise Left Off.

Charity is many things. Therapist. Former competitive cheerleader. Person with “the best family” and “the best friends.” Woman who was, for some reason, into Zach last season. And, as they reminded us in the little intro: a really beautiful crier, which has to be one of the top criteria for this show. — Elise

The “beautiful crier” attribute is truly something only this franchise would consider a high honor. But yes! She is a woman of many talents and possibly questionable taste. But if you like it, girl, I love it. — Ruth
Craig Sjodin/ABC

'The Bachelorette' Producers Aren't Fooling Anyone With This Product Placement

Barely 20 minutes in, and we’ve already got an “Indiana Jones” tie-in during commercials and a very un-subtle zoom-in to Charity’s Maybelline makeup. She looks great, but ABC producers, you’re not fooling anybody. It’s giving “America’s Next Top Model” sponsored by CoverGirl. — Jill

That made me chuckle, teehee. But the dress is giving! Charity looks stunning. — Ruth

The Maybelline episode tie-in closely followed by a commercial with GROCERY STORE JOE! I did a double take. Something tells me this Maybelline/Bachelorette sponsorship is going to be an invoooolved ordeal. — Alexandra
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We Already Have Beef With 'The Bachelorette' And It Hasn't Even Aired Yet

I’ve been watching “The Bachelor” and its many iterations faithfully since Chris Soules’ season. It has pretty much always aired at 8, barring, you know, presidential addresses or whatever. But they’re making us tune in at 9 p.m. for Charity’s season? I’ll do it for her, but I already devote too many hours of my life to this franchise. Also, I am old (see: watching since Chris Soules’ season). Now I have to stay up late for it? — Jill

Jill, you took the words out of my mouth. I like to get in bed at 10 p.m. Since they changed the air timing, I wish it were only an hour; even “Married at First Sight” shortened their episodes to 90 minutes! — Erin

They’re lucky I’m even here in the first place, to keep it a buck. This franchise is a perennial trainwreck, but I’m interested in seeing how Charity navigates this space as a Black lead — and whether the network is adequately equipped to support her, contrary to Matt James’ season. He was my first watch, and his season went even worse than I thought it would. So let’s see how this goes! Also, shoutout to a fellow Georgia peach! — Ruth

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