CBS’ “Big Brother” crowned its first Black winner Wednesday night during the season 23 finale when Wisconsin attorney Xavier Prather took home the top prize.
Garnering all nine jury votes, Prather beat Derek Frazier, ending a historic run of the show that in 21 years has never had a Black contestant take home the big prize during the regular season. (Tamar Braxton won Celebrity Big Brother in 2019).
Prather called his win, “surreal,” and “groundbreaking.”
“Big Brother” is a reality game show where 16 people live in a house on a television set without any access to the real world. The show uses audio and visual devices to keep 24-hour surveillance on the contestants as they compete in challenges and form strategic alliances in an effort to survive elimination and stay in the house.
The contestants, called Houseguests, vote one person out of the house each week. The last remaining Houseguest takes the top prize.
With more diversity in this cast than previous seasons, six Black contestants decided early in the game that they would work together to ensure one of them would be the winner.
Tiffany Mitchell, a phlebotomist and single mom from Detroit said she knew going into the house that she didn’t want to go after any minority contestants
“At first it was an understanding,” Mitchell said, then the alliance had a name, “The Cookout.” Soon, Mitchell said, it was clear they were all playing for much more than $750,000.
“It’s not even about the money anymore,” Mitchell said. “We all gave up what we really wanted, or what we thought was best for our own personal game with the people for the mission of the six.”
Six Black contestants on “Big Brother” formed an alliance to ensure that one of them would win the show.
Even the players who were evicted at the expense of the alliance couldn’t help but be supportive and impressed by The Cookout’s larger mission.
When house guest Claire Rehfuss was evicted by Mitchell, who had become her best friend in the house (and Cookout member) she tearfully said she understood.
“This game has been played for a long time and a lot of times people of color aren’t looked out for in the game and they go out early,” she said.
Rehfuss called the game moves by The Cookout “iconic” and “legendary.
Christian Birkenberger, who left the house in week five and watched the season play out at home praised the alliance, saying at Wednesday’s finale, “When you are able to put a bigger purpose to your game play, this is proof that history can be made.”
The Cookout managed to keep its initial six-person team intact until the end, making them “the most successful ‘Big Brother’ alliance in history,” according to host Julie Chen Moonves.
Mitchell, who was the mastermind of The Cookout’s most strategic moves and became the first member of the alliance to be evicted from the house, took home the $50,000 prize of “America’s Favorite Houseguest.
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