Being black on big brother

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 6:06pm

Winner Tamar Braxton and Kandi Burruss

Winner Tamar Braxton and Kandi Burruss Buy this photo
Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

On the second season of Celebrity Big Brother an unprecedented event may occur: a final four consisting of all Black contestants. Ricky Williams, former NFL football player, will have the power to eliminate two houseguests soon, sealing his place in the final four, and with the only white houseguest being Dina Lohan, there is a chance the final four will consist of a combination of Kandi Burruss, Lolo Jones, Tamar Braxton or Dina Lohan.

The hit television show "Big Brother" or "BB" has been marketed as a social experiment in which approximately 20 strangers, or ‘houseguests,’ move into the Big Brother house which has been modified to cut off contact with the outside world and no communicative technologies. The ‘houseguests’ are then monitored 24/7 from the moment they walk into the BB house to the moment the winner of BB has been voted on by the other houseguests. The point of Big Brother is to build relationships and alliances with the other houseguests to have the votes for eviction night and to eventually make it to the finale where the other houseguests vote for the winner. "Expect the unexpected" is the Big Brother slogan.

Throughout the 15 seasons of Big Brother and 2 seasons of its spinoff, Celebrity Big Brother, no Black contestant has ever won. Part of the reason is because of the micro-aggressive racist tendencies and overt racist labels and actions directed towards the Black houseguests in the Big Brother house until the white contestants have ostracized and evicted the Black houseguests from the house. The other reason is because Black contestants are often fewer than a third of the houseguests.

In recent history, two years ago on Big Brother season 19 (BB 19), Paul Abrahamian had to be told by production not to do blackface when he dressed as a snake to mock another contestant in the house. On BB 15, two white women, Aaryn Gries and GinaMarie Zimmerman, would overtly mock Candice Stewart saying, “that if she spoke in the dark you may not be able to see the b****”. The houseguests who’d aligned with Aaryn and GinaMarie said nothing to them and were cowardly and complicit with their alliance members’ actions. In BB 20, Tyler Crispen, who was considered a leader for his alliance, openly made Bayleigh Dayton his nemesis and painted her as a crazy angry Black woman, although she only became upset because he was rude to her. Once again, his alliance members were complicit with Tyler’s microaggressions. These are only a few recent examples of racism on a show that has had 20 seasons to conduct what they call a social experiment.

Indeed, if this season of Celebrity Big Brother — although a spinoff of Big Brother — results in the final four being Black, then the winner and runner-up will also be Black. In this game, it further proves that Black people are able to accomplish anything despite the microagressions and racism that they have to deal with inside of the Big Brother house, and it gives hope to future Black Big Brother contestants that they could win this game as well.