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Who is Emmanuel Acho, host of the Bachelor’s ‘After the Final Rose’?

Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL linebacker and host of the video series “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” will host Monday night's “After the Final Rose.” (Craig Sjodin/ABC)
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The drama of a “Bachelor” finale generally revolves around the drama of an engagement: Who will the Bachelor pick? Will she say yes? And now, months after filming has wrapped, is the couple still together?

Monday night’s finale to Matt James’s season will likely answer those questions. But for many viewers, the more pressing questions this season are ones that have more to do with revelations that have come to light since the cast and crew left Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pa.

This season, featuring James — a 29-year-old real estate broker from New York who’s the first Black man to star on the show — has been wrought with controversy. Midway through the season, Internet sleuths found that a top contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, had “liked” a post of friends posing in front of a Confederate flag; shared an Instagram post whose language echoed the QAnon extremist ideology; dressed in a Native American costume; and attended an “Old South” antebellum-themed party in college in 2018. She has since apologized and is among James’s two remaining contestants.

Bachelor host Chris Harrison has issued several apologies for the way he’s handled the discovery of Kirkconnell’s social media history, and he will not be hosting Monday night’s “After the Final Rose.” In his place, Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL linebacker and host of the video series “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” will host.

Acho comes from outside the Bachelor universe, but he has the skills for this moment: He’s practiced in facilitating difficult conversations on race.

Here’s everything you need to know about him.

Who is Emmanuel Acho?

Acho, 30, is a former linebacker for the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles football teams. He left the NFL in 2016, and is currently an analyst for Fox Sports. Acho grew up in Dallas, the son of Nigerian immigrants.

“I’ve been navigating the lines between whiteness and blackness all of my life,” he writes in his 2020 best-selling book “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.” Growing up in a mostly White upper-class suburban neighborhood, Acho adds that going to college at the University of Texas was the “first time I understood what it means to be a black man in America.”

What kind of prep has he done for this role?

Acho’s book and his video series tackle difficult questions in a frank, nonjudgmental tone aimed specifically at helping White people understand the history of racism, slavery and inequality in America. Rachel Lindsay, the first Black Bachelorette, and her husband, Bryan Abasolo, have appeared on Acho’s video series in an episode about interracial relationships. Lindsay also was the one to suggest Acho as a replacement for Harrison.

In a Friday interview with Lindsay on “Extra,” Acho said he never thought his book on racial reconciliation “would lead me to one of the most storied shows and one of the most volatile moments of this franchise and that I would be the man for this moment.”

Acho noted that he and Chris Harrison have spoken “at length” over the past two weeks and added that “people need to give him the opportunity, the grace and the time to do the work. And then they need to receive the work he does.”

On Friday, Warner Horizon, the Bachelor’s production company, and ABC announced that Harrison would sit out the next season of “The Bachelorette” and that former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe would serve in his place.

What is Acho’s goal for “After the Final Rose”?

Acho told Lindsay his main goal is to “seek understanding first before we seek tension” — and there is a lot of tension in Bachelor Nation right now. In addition, Acho wants to focus on Matt’s love story, noting his search for a partner has been “overshadowed” by him being the first Black Bachelor.

Lindsay asked Acho: If Matt picks Rachael, will there be pressure for them to break up? Acho answered that that could be a difficult spot.

“If you are Black with someone who has been racially insensitive, you don’t have necessarily the same luxury to continue to endure that relationship without pushback from society,” Acho said. “Is it worth fighting for? And that’s what Matt has to figure out.”

What do we know about Acho’s love life? (This is ‘The Bachelor,’ after all.)

On a 2019 podcast, Yvonne Orji, who played Molly Carter on HBO’s “Insecure,” confirmed that she and Acho dated for over a year, breaking up in 2019. As far as we can tell, he appears to be single.

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