LaNease Adams is an icon in one of the most iconic franchises in television history: The Bachelor. She was among the final eight women in the first ever season with Alex Michel in 2002–you might remember her as the series’ first kiss!
But her journey wasn’t easy. After her season was re-aired as part of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons – Ever!, she opened up for the first time about the racist backlash she faced for being in an interracial relationship, leading her to suffer panic attacks and depression before landing in the hospital.
Message for Matt James
Adams then began therapy and went on a self-love journey, and now she’s using her story to help others who might be going through a similar experience–like latest show lead Matt James, whose season was marked by a racism controversy with frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell, leaving James with no relationship and emotional wounds to heal.
“My advice [to Matt] is to know who you are, and if you know who you are, no one can tell you who you are,” Adams shared on Ten Minute Talks with Meagan Lynn. “You’re a great person, you’re doing the best you can in life, so just accept the good and throw away the bad and just keep living your life. Keep being the best person you can be.”
Thoughts on Rachel Lindsay
Though Adams is a big supporter of James, she wasn’t a fan of how his season ended and the interview with Rachel Lindsay that ultimately resulted in Chris Harrison stepping down for a period of time from the show.
“I was a big fan of Rachel Lindsay when her season aired. I was proud of the way that she represented for us African American women. I felt that the interview that she and Chris had, I think that the ending of that was a bit unfortunate,” she said. “I think that what Chris was trying to do in my opinion was just trying to take some of the smoke off from Rachael K., because the internet and media, everything can be really tough.”
“I felt that Chris was just trying to give Rachael [Kirkconnell] a little grace and in that, he ended up getting railroaded, and I feel like the punishment did not fit the crime there,” she continued. “But that being said, it was not a good party that Rachael K. attended. Chris said that as well. No one should go to parties like that. No one should want to. Why would you want to glorify a time where people were being enslaved? That’s just a terrible time. It’s a stain on our history, so no one should want to glorify it. I think Chris probably should have been a little bit more adamant about saying that.”
Defending Chris Harrison
As she shared in an Instagram statement, Adams is defending Harrison and says she wishes more people would stand up for him–including Lindsay, whom she believes knows Harrison is not racist.
“I know that he loves the franchise. The Bachelor is just his heart and soul: Bachelor Nation, the contestants, the people,” she said. “So I felt terrible that more people didn’t come out and say, ‘Hey, I know this guy, he’s a great guy. He messed up. Let’s give him some grace. No one’s perfect.’ I think we need more people to stand up for people when they’re being canceled if you know that they’re a good person. I didn’t see enough people coming to his aid.”
Adams says she’s proud of Harrison for taking the time away from the show to study and learn.
“I already know he’s not racist, but I think it’s great that he’s working to be anti-racist because the more allies we have, the better,” she said. “I really wish we could get to a place where everybody just saw each other for who they were and not what they look like.”
Shortly after Harrison’s announcement, he’d be stepping away from the show, it came out in Page Six that an anonymous source said he’s hiring a lawyer because he’s ready to “tell the truth about how things really work over there” on the show. Adams shared on Ten Minute Talks with Meagan Lynn what she thinks of Harrison’s decision.
“I would have to say from Chris’ history, I would probably be likely to believe whatever Chris decided to say,” she said, adding a message for the host. “I just want him to know that he’s loved. I just feel really bad because here is someone who’s spent 20 years of their life with this Bachelor organization and to have it all taken away in the blink of an eye because you weren’t adamant enough about how bad a party was–because he did say the party was bad but he wasn’t adamant enough–so, therefore, he should lose everything? I don’t think so.”
Though Adams is supporting Harrison, she also doesn’t condone the online attacks against Rachel Lindsay that resulted in her temporarily taking down her Instagram account after her interview with Harrison.
“I think that online bullying is terrible no matter who it’s geared towards. I feel badly for anyone that’s being hurt so bad that they have to remove themselves from the situation here with social media.” Adams said. ”I never would want anyone to feel pain. I feel bad that she’s experiencing that as well; I feel badly for her and for Chris.”
The future of the franchise
The Bachelor attempted to address some of these issues in the After The Final Rose special hosted by Emmanuel Acho, who created the series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” on YouTube. Adams says, however, she’s not sure it’s the show’s job to address social issues.
“They do have this great platform where they can make a difference; it’s up to them whether or not they want to,” she said. “Sometimes I feel like the public is so adamant about making these producers address social issues when really they just want to have a show about love. I think it’s up to them whether or not they want to take that on.”
But Adams says she does believe the show is trying to make positive change.
“I think this past summer with quarantine and all of the racial unrest, I think that has opened up a lot of people’s eyes more and made them want to do more, and I think that’s why we’re seeing that they are doing more,” she said. “They put a new Black Bachelorette and a new Black Bachelor. I think they’re wanting to do more now. Whether it’s something that they have to do? No, but I’m glad that they are doing it.”
As for next steps, Adams suggests the franchise host a town hall with people from the show to lay everything on the table.
“Sometimes it can seem like the elephant in the room that everyone’s tried to avoid talking about because it is a tough conversation, but to me, it’s something that maybe should just be fully addressed and then we can let it go,” she said. “Sometimes when you try to dance around a topic it lasts much longer than if you were to just talk about it, so I think maybe just having a real good conversation so that we can try to put it behind us.”
Adams’ ultimate hope is that the franchise will survive this difficult period, and believes there is a silver lining in what the audience can take away from this season.
“I think it’s great that people are seeing a Black Bachelor on their screen,” she said. “There are some people across the globe who don’t have interactions with Black people, and I think this is a way for some people to just see that everybody wants love, everybody wants to be happy. So I’m hopeful that it just helped open the minds of people who may have not ever interacted with African-American people.”
Since her own time on the show, Adams has been acting, producing, and even wrote a book inspired by her own self-love journey. To check out her book, films, and other projects, you can go to her website laneaseadams.com, or give her a follow on social media @laneaseadams.