The Bachelorette ventured into uncharted territory this season when a conversation between Tayshia Adams and contestant Ivan Hall turned into a discussion about police brutality, the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and protests that happened nationwide in 2020.
It’s the kind of talk Rachel Lindsay, the first Black woman to ever lead The Bachelorette, has been waiting to see on the show. And while she was happy to see the conversation being had, Rachel says she was left wanting more from Tayshia, who struggled to hold back tears during her talk with Ivan.
“Tayshia made a very important statement,” Rachel said on Bachelor Happy Hour, which she co-hosts with Becca Kufrin. “She said she’s always tried to blend in because she knew she was different. And what that translates to is she tried to assimilate to whiteness and tone down her blackness. That’s basically what she was saying and I so wanted more from Tayshia in this conversation.
“I get that it’s emotional — it still makes me emotional to talk about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, the list goes on and on and on — and it makes me emotional too because the list didn’t start in 2020. I so wanted Tayshia to put words to her tears, because that statement of saying she tried to blend in because she knew she was different is something so many Black people who grew up in majority white communities or schools can relate to.
“I, personally, can relate to that. I went to a majority white school my entire life. I know what it’s like to blend in and tone down who you really are just because you feel like it’s easier. I wanted Tayshia to talk about why that is. Why she felt like she had to blend in. Why this is such a struggle for her. Why it’s hard for her to talk about, and not just as a Black woman, but as a Black and Latino woman. She’s a woman of color, she’s representing to cultures and two communities. I wanted her to express that.”
Rachel Was Much More Impressed With Ivan’s Contribution to the Talk
Ivan was relatively quiet in the first half of the season, but he vaulted himself into a favorite during episode seven. The aeronautical engineer had a playful, fun date with Tayshia followed by a deep, emotional conversation. But what was most unique about the talk was that a contestant was the one who was urging the lead to trust him and open up when the dynamic is usually the opposite.
He spoke about how his brother spent four years in jail and was abused by correctional officers. While Ivan said his first reaction during those talks was to ask his brother what he did wrong to provoke that abuse, he realized he was blaming his brother for the misconduct of others.
“He is absolutely one of my favorites because of how he was able to express and communicate what is happening in this world, how it has affecting him personally, his faults, and how he used to think about things, and how he has grown from that,” Rachel said. “It was a beautiful conversation to be had. I like Ivan because he challenges Tayshia in a way that she has never been challenged before by any man that she’s been with, and that’s very evident.
“Ivan was leading the conversation. Ivan was pushing her and guiding her and telling her that he’s been called the N word and she was shocked by it. It was a great conversation, but it was Ivan who was leading it, it was Ivan who brought it up, it was Ivan who was pushing it, and I wanted more from Tayshia in this moment. And maybe we’ll get it later, I don’t know.”
Tayshia Has Previously Said She Wanted Serious Conversations as The Bachelorette
About three weeks prior to episode seven airing, Tayshia appeared on Bachelor Happy Hour and was asked the possibility of conversations about societal issues like racial inequality being had on the show.
“I feel like the man that I’m looking for is willing to have those conversations and has an opinion and has a feeling about everything,” Tayshia said on the show. “If it’s someone that’s trying to run away from it because they have no feelings on it or they don’t even know how to vocalize it then okay, I don’t necessarily know if that’s the person for me, to be honest with you.
“I’m here to have those difficult conversations. I’m also half-Black and half-Mexican so those issues are going to arise in our relationship. So it’s moreso a person that is willing to have that is definitely a person I’m willing to date. If they’re not ready for all that then maybe we’re not ready for each other. I mean 2020 is what it is, you can’t hide.”
With 12 men still in the running for the final rose and several episodes ahead, Ivan’s talk with Tayshia likely will not be the last that tackles the subject of race.