'Big Brother' crowns Xavier Prather its first-ever African-American winner over runner-up Derek Frazier
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/29/2021
Big Brother crowned Xavier Prather its champion, the show's first-ever African-American winner, over runner-up Derek Frazier during Wednesday night's live two-hour Season 23 finale on CBS.
Xavier, a 27-year-old attorney from Kalamazoo, MI, won the grand prize of $750,000 in a unanimous 9-0 jury vote against Derek, a 29-year-old safety officer from Philadelphia, PA, who won $75,000 for finishing second.
"I wouldn't have been here without all the members of 'The Cookout' and every single member of jury and those who are not in jury that were part of this season. I can't thank you guys enough."
"I'm so blessed to have met every single one of you," he added, "and we all made history this season. So I think we should all be proud."
Azah, a 30-year-old director of sales operations from Baltimore, MD, finished the game in third place and became the ninth member of the jury, joining fellow jurors Britini D'Angelo, Derek Xiao, Sarah Beth Steagall, Claire Rehfuss, Alyssa Lopez, Tiffany Mitchell, Hannah Chaddha, and Kyland Young.
In addition, Tiffany was voted "America's Favorite Houseguest," and so she also walked away with $75,000.
The Big Brother finale broadcast began with Azah and Derek facing off in Part 2 of the final Head of Household competition after 85 days in the house. The winner would battle Xavier live in Part 3 for the chance to become the final HoH.
Azah and Derek were required to answer "jackpot" questions that could always be answered by choosing four specific houseguests. In order to answer, the players had to stand on top of a giant slot machine and roll the four columns until the correct pictures of houseguests were featured.
The houseguest to correctly answer three questions the fastest would win Part 2 of the HoH competition.
Azah finished the task with a time of 13 minutes and 19 seconds compared to Derek's time of 20 minutes and 22 seconds. Azah therefore won the round.
"If Big D. had won Part 2, then we'd both be guaranteed Final 2. But now that he's lost, I have the pressure placed on me to win Part 3 in order to guarantee that I will be sitting in one of those two chairs," Xavier explained in a confessional.
Azah said if she happened to win Part 3 of the competition, she didn't know which player to take to the end. While Azah had been sold on going to Final 2 with Derek, she said he didn't respect her game and claimed he had carried her to the end.
"To be frank, he has hurt my feelings," Azah acknowledged in the Diary Room.
Derek had no intention of "kissing anybody's ass," and there was clearly tension between the pair, and so Azah suggested they should stop talking game with each other.
As Derek said he was "over" Azah, she began weighing her options about the Final 2.
After some time elapsed, Azah told Xavier that she had been thinking and reflecting a lot and decided to take him to the end because he's "a great player" who ultimately deserved it and deserved to potentially win the $750,000.
Azah then confessed her decision to Derek, who said he had kept her around so that she would bring him to Final 2. Derek explained that had he not voted emotionally in the past, Kyland would still be in the game and Azah would be gone.
"[That's] one move I will regret when I watch this back," Derek told Azah.
Derek accused Azah of losing her mind, but he walked away from the conversation calmly.
Afterward, Azah second-guessed her choice again, saying she didn't want her friendship with Derek outside of the Big Brother house to be affected and negatively impacted.
As the winners of Part 1 and Part 2 of the final HoH competition, Xavier and Azah played "Houseguest Headliners" and had to prove just how well they know their former housemates.
Xavier and Azah watched a series of BB Beach Club promotional videos, each featuring a specific member of the jury. Three statements would be made about that specific juror, and it was Xavier and Azah's goal to pick out the false statement, "A," "B" or "C."
Each correct answer would earn a player one point, and after eight rounds, the person with the most points would become the final HoH of the summer.
When Round 8 commenced, Xavier had seven points and Azah had six points. They both got the eighth question correct, so Xavier won the final HoH competition with a perfect score of eight points!
Xavier therefore had the power to evict one houseguest and take the other to Final 2.
In their final speeches, Derek said he had been Xavier's "ride or die" ally and had always been there for him. Derek asked Xavier "to ride this out together" and keep their promises.
Azah told Xavier that she appreciated and respected him and would be comfortable with whatever decision he arrived at.
Xavier, guaranteed at least second place and the record-high $75,000 that comes with it, announced, "I love you both as people, and in this game, you both have been extremely loyal and true to me."
He added, "Big D, we came through those doors together and I think it's only fair we walk out of them together. So, unfortunately, Azah, I have to vote to evict you."
Azah, as a result, was the last person to be evicted from the Big Brother house for Season 23, and Derek broke down into tears and hugged Xavier with thanks and relief.
"I told you I got you!" Xavier said.
In her post-eviction interview with Big Brother host Julie Chen, Azah admitted that she was "sad" and lost the game by only one wrong answer in the final HoH competition.
"I knew what I signed up for. I knew I was coming into a Final 3 when the Final 2 had been made, and the only way I would get to those Final 2 chairs is by me working myself. But I know I put my entire best foot forward in this game," Azah shared.
"I did every single thing that I could, so I don't regret anything."
Had Azah won HoH, she revealed she would have taken Xavier to Final 2 because she admired his game and wanted a great winner and representative to win this already-historical season thanks to "The Cookout" alliance of all people of color.
"I don't think [Xavier] deserved third [place], and so that's why, in my heart, I thought it would be best to bring him if I were to win," Azah disclosed, adding, "I'm not the person to win this season, and I'm comfortable with that."
Azah said there's a chance she could have received some votes against Xavier and she believes it would have been "a close vote."
The rowdy jury then gathered onstage with Julie to ask the Final 2 houseguests some questions.
Xavier asked the jury to consider who played a great game and who didn't make things personal as they played. Xavier said he never belittled or disrespected anyone, although he had lied and deceived in order to properly play Big Brother.
Britini asked Xavier to cite two key decisions he had made on his own and not at the request of others, and Derek said he started "The Cookout" with all six members and always put "The Cookout" before himself. Derek insisted he didn't owe anybody anything.
Derek also insisted he played the game not just for fame but to win money so he could help his mother.
Alyssa asked Xavier to reveal his biggest mistake in the game, and Xavier recalled getting too close to his teammates. Xavier said it was "crushing" to watch all of his friends leave.
When asked to reveal strategic game moves the jury was not aware of, Xavier explained blindsiding Kyland and having thrown a previous HoH competition in Week 5 to Derek X. to benefit "The Cookout" alliance.
Xavier said he needed to knock out Derek X. and the "Kings" team in order to protect his allies.
Derek went on to insist he was always in an HoH's ear and dropped facts to protect "The Cookout" alliance. Derek said he always put the alliance before his own self-interests or drama in the house, even when it came down to volunteering to be a pawn.
Overall, Derek said he deserved to win the money because he "put in the work" and gave every competition his "all" even though he never won a competition.
Before the jury cast their votes for Big Brother's winner, Xavier and Derek were able to give final speeches.
Derek said he's a competitor even though he couldn't win a competition, adding however, that Xavier deserved to win the title just as much.
Xavier had the final say and shared how he had never wavered in his loyalty to "The Cookout" alliance and he even threw competitions for the betterment of his teammates. Xavier boasted about his three HoH wins and three Power of Veto wins, the most of anyone this season.
"I was also the ultimate pawn! I was nominated five times... and only had one vote cast to evict me," Xavier pointed out. "I feel I played an overall pretty good game."
Derek and Xavier refused to say anything bad about each other, with Xavier announcing how Derek is his closest friend and closest brother in the game.
Prior to votes being cast, Derek also revealed he's the son of "Smokin' Joe" Frazier, formally known as Joe Frazier, a heavyweight boxing champion who passed away in 2011. And Xavier announced to the jury he's a licensed attorney and former college basketball player.
Britini also shared with the house how she struggles with autism every day but didn't want to be viewed for her disability.
And Kyland said he never meant to insult Xavier or make a personal attack against him in regards to mentioning the attorney's nephew. Kyland said he had made objective statements but never meant to hurt Xavier.
In reply, Xavier suggested there was never a point to mentioning his nephew's name and he didn't want to get into it further. The two men clearly needed to have a discussion after the show, and they both agreed to that.