Author and TV host Emmanuel Acho opened up about taking over hosting duties for "The Bachelor's" upcoming "After the Final Rose" special.
In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America," the "Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man" author addressed the controversy surrounding this past season and the responsibilities that come with stepping into the role.
"This is the most uncomfortable conversation in the history of 'The Bachelor' franchise," Acho told "Good Morning America." "Because it's not just about relationships, but now it's about race. We're intertwining race with relationships on one of the greatest unscripted shows in the history of television."
Last month, Acho announced in a statement that he will be stepping in to host "After the Final Rose" on March 15 after Chris Harrison announced that he will be "stepping aside for a period of time" from "The Bachelor" following controversy over comments he made during an interview with former "Bachelorette" star Rachel Lindsay.
During the interview, Harrison defended one of this season's current contestants, Rachel Kirkconnell, who has been embroiled in controversy due to past racist social media activity.
"People are just tearing this girl's life apart and diving into her and her parents' voting record. It's unbelievably alarming to watch this," Harrison told Lindsay, before addressing a recently surfaced photo of Kirkconnell that depicted her attending an "Old South" college formal, a planation-themed party, in 2018.
"I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that's it … Like, 'OK. Well, this girl is in this book now,'" he said. "And I'm like, 'Really?'"
When Lindsay responded and said the photo was "not a good look," Harrison asked her, "Is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there's a big difference."
Harrison has since apologized for his comments and Kirkconnell has also apologized for the past photos, but many are still reeling over their actions.
"My initial reaction was, 'Yikes. That's not a good look,'" said Acho of Kirkconnell's photos. "My secondary reaction was everybody pump the brakes because there's a difference between being racist and racially insensitive or racially ignorant. I believe her photos were racially insensitive and racially ignorant. Racial insensitivity and racial ignorance can play itself out as racism, but it doesn't necessarily classify someone as racist. Let's classify this as what it is: Racially insensitive and racially ignorant."
As for Chris Harrison's comments about Kirkconnell's photos being a good look in 2018 versus 2020, Acho said "there's no difference." "There's an awareness in 2018, 2017, 2016 -- as far back as I can go," he said. "Celebrating or re-enacting, even if it's just by attire, an antebellum plantation party or an antebellum plantation festivity is wrong."
Since the controversy, Acho said he has spoken with Harrison several times and discussed in detail where Harrison says he went wrong.
"I've gotten to hear his heart," said Acho. "He'll admit this. He was ignorant and arrogant and you cannot be both. And when he said that to me, I was like, 'Well, you understand what caused this dilemma.'"
"I don't believe in cancel culture," added Acho. "I believe in accountability. I believe in understanding. I believe in growth. Now, if someone's intent is malicious, then by all means cancel them. But if someone's intent is not malicious, but their action still is, then educate them so that we can alter the intent and thus alter the act."
As for Acho's goal as host of the show's finale, the former NFL linebacker said he hopes he can help the Black community reconcile with what they've had to deal with during this past season. He also said that he hopes to put a spotlight on Matt's journey toward love.
"My mission for 'After the Final Rose' is very, very, very simple: allow my white brothers and sisters who have watched the show and fell in love with that story to understand that Matt's love story and his journey of love is different than other journeys of love, particularly because of his complexion and his skin color," he said.
Acho added, "I really just want to bring forth reconciliation racially as we continue to watch the love story play out."