HOLLYWOOD—I have been a fan of “Big Brother” since 2000, when the first season aired. For some reason BB has always had issues with race. Please don’t ask me, but understand when you have only 1 person of color in a cast of 12-16 people it’s not a good look. Casting has always been a problem with this reality competition series, and I thought it had gotten better, but it has not. Why? The series is too focused on casting people in their 20s and looking for romance. Let me just say this because I want to be clear: there is a show on ABC called “The Bachelorette” for those looking for that.
There is also a show on CBS called “Love Island.” Let me be clear to the producers of BB: NO ONE IS WATCHING BB TO SEE A DAMN SHOWMANCE! We do not care about that, we care about strategy and gameplay. For some reason the producers seem to think this and that is the first problem. Cast people who want to play the game, cast people who are not looking for 15 minutes of fame. I think ever since season 15 that was the turning point in the series that has gone downhill. We went from a traditional 12-14 person cast, to 16.
Someone has mentioned this before, the cast is too large and I am in agreement. We don’t need 16 people; we truly need to go back to 12 to 13 people in a cast. The more people just strings the seasons to be longer than they need to be America. BB15 was horrible, the racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny was absolutely a game changer as it made national headlines and BB was finally forced to acknowledge the sins of the past and had to post a disclaimer before each episode. BB16 saw the ushering of the groupthink mentality and major alliance that has dominated since making terrible TV (worst season ever) in terms of entertainment. I haven’t watched it since and probably will never watch it again.
BB17 we saw the unfortunate circumstance of all-star Da’Vonne Rogers being singled out as the loud, aggressive, angry black woman because she was observing things in the house and called out Clay and Shelli who thought she was sketch. Has BB called back Clay or Shelli? That should tell you everything you need to know about who was a standout and who was not. BB18 was a minor improvement, but not by much, but BB19 whew that was a very bad season people. Very bad as Paul and his antics with Dominque, the blackface and just the mere shunning and isolation of each houseguest was unbearable to watch. It wasn’t just the issue with Dominque, it was the mob mentality tactics that Paul utilized in the game that made it unwatchable and explains why he lost the game not once, but twice people.
BB20 was a breath of fresh air, with Bayleigh and Swaggy in the house, but the micro-aggressions about women of color being loud, aggressive and scary were still being whispered in the house. BB21 was God awful and returned BB to it horrid days with the Camp Comeback twist that saw all the people of color evicted before jury, not to mention the wicked treatment of Kemi. That first week of watching the feeds were stunning and unbelievable. I recall not watching the feeds or episodes for the first 3 to 4 weeks of the season because of the behavior of the house America. BB22 was dreadful, even though it was the second all-season after years of fans begging for it. The casting is a reason that season was dreadful and the micro-aggressions from Christmas, Cody, Dani and Nicole against Da’Vonne, Kevin and David drove me notes. I have mentioned micro-aggressions quite a bit and some of you might now know what that means: it’s where you have a preconceived notion based on what you think about a particular race or culture without actual evidence to back it up and they are always negative people.
“Big Brother” is never done a good job as ensuring the houseguests understand everything they say and do is broadcast on the live feeds. You cannot say it was edited wrong or we did not see everything. Some houseguests don’t understand and I think BB24 is about to remind more than 90 percent of the cast that social media can be brutal as hell, so if you’re looking for 15 minutes of fame, you’re going to get it, but not in the way that you think.
CBS has pushed a diversity inclusion, but as I heard one podcaster say earlier this week, diversity is not having half the cast be White, and everyone else a mix of people of color, it means inclusion and equality for all the players in the game. I would love to see a season of BB with a cast of dynamic players who stand out for being unique, not because they’re good looking, White or trying to fill a quota. BB23 was the first time EVER in 23 seasons of the show that we saw three BLACK women of color play the game. Think about that America. Hell the NUMBER of BLACK MEN who played the game has been even worst, only 18 have played in 22 years. That is a startling statistic people.
It is further frustrating that we have a lack of Asian Americans cast in the show, and other ethnicities people, as the goal always seems to be White males and females. That is the core, but CBS and the producers of BB will never say that they have a race issue because it would force them to acknowledge they have a problem. I always wondered why the CBS reality competition series “Survivor” has never had these issues like BB. Oh, they don’t cast based on romance and social media clout; they try casting interesting, dynamic, fun people that want to play the game and they are NOT AFRAID of casting people who are not simply in their 20s. BB has had the problem with casting people over the age of 30 for years. I mean we get 1 to 2 people every year over 40, but that’s it.
It is time to change that, hello, did you see BB10; it had Jerry and Renny two characters above the age of 50 that were absolute firecrackers and the best thing in the house. There is a reason that cast worked so well, it clicks and the cast just meshed, we haven’t had a cast so fun like that since BB20 and BB23 in my personal opinion.
With that said, BB24 is showing BB ugliness at its core again with some serious micro-aggressions and stereotypes from Paloma, Alyssa, Jasmin, Indy, Ameerah, Pooch, Turner, Nicole, Kyle, Turner, and add on Monte and Terrance which is just as bad because they are people of color particularly Black people, all onto one person: Taylor. I slightly excluded Brittany, Michael and Nicole because they haven’t been that bad, but after Saturday night they’re on the list too because they’re following the mob mentality. How about you be a leader instead of a follower? If the season is giving the hints that its giving, BB19 or BB21 in 2022 is going to cause all sorts of fireworks.
She has been labeled aggressive, angry, loud, scary and guess what the woman has NOT exhibited any of it. Not a single ounce. Pooch (that idiot) and his micro-aggressions are the worse because he is pushing a narrative that Taylor will blow up and be loud if she got nominated and it is better to deal with it now than later. Pooch you’re from Staten Island right? Would you like people to make preconceived notions about you based on where you’re from, I don’t think so. The same applies to Kyle and Turner who are like lapdogs who eat up whatever anyone says to them. Turner, there are some things on social media floating about you that is going to torch your life when you get out the house. I would thread very lightly if I were you.
Like what the hell? The Diary Room should be calling them in or at least let it be known (as we know they have DONE IT IN THE PAST) that what is happening right now is NOT OK. Your verbiage is dangerous so choose your words wisely cause you cannot say it was taken out of context. But nope, CBS is going to try to sweep it under the rug, but with this first week of feeds, it will be interesting how they edit this episode and quite frankly it is going to be impossible for them to NOT show the bullying and hateful comments that have been thrown Taylor’s direction mainly because you have insecure women who are afraid of a woman who is confident, but has also admitted she struggles in social settings. Be damned if you’re vulnerable, be damned if you’re not, Taylor cannot win in this house no matter what she does.
The mob mentality is very reminiscent to BB19 and BB21, and we all know how those seasons were perceived by the public. Monte might be the worse person; this guy is half Black; yet, he is disregarding it to fit in with the rest of the house. Monte I can tell you right now you will be doing a lot of backtracking once you get out the house and see how you have been perceived, the same for Terrance who is the oldest person in the house, and calling a woman 20 years his senior a b**ch and for what? He’s trying to fit in its purely sad.
I wanted to not include Nicole, Brittany and Michael into that mix, but BB24 is showing like a season of mob mentality with a ton of followers and no leaders. Monte you telling Daniel you will call out someone if they do something wrong, yet you’ve set silent this entire time as a Black women has been treated with just venom for breathing and you won’t pull her to the side to let her know? Dude, as a fellow Black man speaking to another Black man you are the worst Black man I have EVER SEEN CAST ON THIS SHOW! Hell, and people think Lawon was bad for thinking he would get a superpower; you’re bad for not having any character, unless it suits you.
The issue of colorism is one that is frustrating as well when you look at how Jasmin and Ameerah and even Nicole for that matter is treating Taylor who is of a darker complexion. Oh, people are going to say they don’t want to hear it; well this column isn’t for you, so go elsewhere then. However it exist people and it’s bad on BB if you want to look at history of how women of a dark complexion or treated, ostracized or labeled without any proof, you do NOT have to go far America.
This is a time where I wish an older player like a Danielle Reyes was in the house to school these contestants on civility because some of them desperately need it: Terrance, Monte, Ameerah and Jasmin I’m looking at you in particular, Nicole you can be thrown in there also, because your comments and behavior is just egregious and you all are people of color. I’m not wasting time on Paloma because she’s a brat, and I’m praying for her when she gets out this house she is going to get skewered on social media and its going to be bad for her and Alyssa and they both deserve any backlash they receive. There are consequences for your actions and I think the cast of BB24 might not discover it till finale night similar to BB15, BB19, BB21 and BB22.
I just want to give you some instances that have transpired in the history of BB that people look at to label Black women. Nothing bad was said or done, but I’m sure some people in the house are using these moments to justify their egregious preconceived notions.
Monica blew up on BB2 and rightfully so, she was angry about event in the house that transpired between Ken and calling him out on silly antics and not being an adult. Danielle Reyes calling out Gerry for not washing his hands; Libra expressing her distaste to Jessie for causing drama on an epic night of drama known as Keesha’s Birthday (look it up if you haven’t already); Chima unleashing some emotion after being screwed by a twist in the game that blew up her game; Candice having to endure horrible, overt racism for weeks in the BB house. How that woman survived I will never know, but having Howard as her rock and ally helped. Da’Vonne feeling alone after blowing up on Shelli and Clay and immediately becoming a target as a result because she was labeled ‘scary’ by a few of the White houseguests. Da’Vonne having to experience similar talk in BB18 and then having to confront Paulie who wanted to be a tough guy, not realizing Da’Vonne is not one to toy with. Dominque being shun by Paul and his minions because she saw the game he was playing and called him out on it. Let’s not even discuss the blackface incident either people. Bayleigh unleashing a bit of emotion on Tyler and his crew after being blamed for something she did not do. Those are just some of the things of BB past. However, another frustrating one was when we had the big fight in BB22 that witnessed Christmas and her just pure ignorance in regards to Bayleigh and Da’Vonne where she said she was going to be shot and scared of nominating the ONLY two Black women in the house on the block.
Why can’t a Black woman show emotion without being crucified, but when a White woman does it there is no problem? Sorry, I love Rachel and Janelle to death, but the truth is the truth people and it hurts.
The implicit bias and fact that “Big Brother” continues year after year to fail to have a serious discussion with its contestants about the issues of racism, preconceived notions and stereotypes and how they are viewed outside the house were the audience SEES EVERYTHING, is baffling. This is just bad publicity people, bad publicity that is going to place another asterisk on a season that has barely gotten its footing. It is not hard to have sensitivity training with your cast before they enter the house, make sure they clearly understand what they are partaking in so you do not fester such behavior. Why it is NOT fun to watch? It makes you sick to your stomach and my heart breaks for Taylor Hale, literally breaks. The only consolation is knowing if she is evicted from the hosue this week the AMOUNT OF LOVE that woman receives will be epic in ways no other houseguest this season is going to receive.
However, once again it all goes back to casting. Stop trying to just fill a quota and argue “see we cast 50 percent people of color.” Guess what “Big Brother” that does not matter if the POC don’t have a fighting chance with an equal battlefield.
So many people were pissed in 2021 with BB23 because of The Cookout and their mission to ensure a Black person won the game after 23 seasons of it never happening. I will admit at times I noted I would have considered turning my back on the alliance then it hit me I would be selfish to do that because a greater cause was in play people. The Cookout did what had to be done so fans like myself and viewers alike would not see what I am seeing now. When you have Twitter, Facebook and Reddit all in agreement about the treatment of one player in the game compared to the entire house, baby it’s a problem. Why? Those social media platforms hardly ever agree so it screams of a potent issue that has not been addressed and CBS and BB will have to address.
I would like to think BB would last forever, but it will not because issues like this sting to the core. “Survivor” has had some hiccups, but nothing to the scale of “Big Brother” and maybe that’s because the series is taped. That might be the excuse people say and that its edited, and it may hold some truth, but I always found “Survivor” fascinating compared to “Big Brother” because they’re not afraid to evolve, where BB refuses to. BB lacks authenticity. “Survivor” has never been afraid to cast people of all age groups and various cultures and ethnicities, BB is still afraid to do it America, and I don’t know why. Ratings for the premiere were down and I feel like they’re going to be trending down the entire season perhaps that is what it will take for things to change on an epic scale. When the powers that be realize people aren’t watching anymore it sends a clear message.
If you want to see an epic season of actual gameplay watch “Big Brother Canada 10” that’s a season where you see dynamic game play from all people where the issue of race is not a lingering problem and the game was exciting literally from start to finish. I have NEVER been that entertained by a season of US “Big Brother” in years. People played and they played hard. We haven’t had a season like that in the US version since maybe BB10, but even there I would argue was not top tier. You would have to go back to BB7 to see people who actually played the game and didn’t intentionally try to make it nasty.
If you want to change what is going on “Big Brother” it is simple change the format or evolve it like “Survivor” has down countless times. “Survivor” has 42 seasons, with 2 more coming. I would be gracious if I say BB makes it to maybe 30, but I don’t think 6 more seasons are likely without returning players after this season. You ask why? They know not to be ignorant, racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic and a list of others things for the most part, with the exception of BB 22 because let’s face it too many people on that season WERE NOT ACTUAL ALL-STARS! There were people we wanted to see that we didn’t get to see.
The twists you try to implement each season does not prevent the mob mentality, massive alliance, racism, sexism, misogyny, micro-aggressions and colorism issues that transpire over and over again. It’s simply educating people and making the game an EVEN PLAYING FIELD for all of those involved. The Team Twist last season helped, how about you do it with two sides of the house for a season? How about a duo twist where you’re constantly changing off on partners? Oh, wait for it, how about a hidden POV or something similar to “Survivor” where a person has an actual fighting chance to survive without getting back doored with no one to save themselves when the entire house wants them out.
Trim the cast, cast older people, change the competitions, stop focusing on themes, and evolve the rules. People are constantly saying we don’t have a race problem in America, but to that I say oh, just watch the US version of “Big Brother,” the proof is in the pudding people.