'Big Brother' Names First Black Winner in 23 Seasons with Xavier Prather's Victory: 'It's Surreal'

Prather faced off against Azah Awasum and Derek Frazier for the grand prize in Wednesday's Big Brother season 23 finale

Derek Frazier, Xavier Prather and Azah Awasum
Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS (3)

Big Brother history has been made!

The CBS reality competition named its first-ever Black winner Wednesday night when the jury voted for Xavier Pratherto take home the $750,000 prize.

"It's surreal," Prather, 27, said after learning his fate. "I wouldn't have been here without all the members of The Cookout and every single member of the jury. And those members not in jury, who were part of the season, can't thank you guys enough. I'm so blessed to have met every single one of you and we all made history this season, so I think we should all be proud."

By a unanimous vote, Pratherbeat out fellow finalist Derek Frazier, who won $75,000 for second place.

"I'm very happy," Frazier, 29, said. "I wanted to come in here and fight for my mother and be able to help her and change her life, and I feel like I've been able to do that now."

The night started off with top three contestants Frazier, Prather and Azah Awasum, 30, competing in the final, three-part Head of Household competition. Prather had won the first of the three legs, meaning he advanced straight to the third part of the challenge. That left Awasum and Frazier to face off in leg No. 2, which consisted of atrivia contest requiring the contestants to input answers on a giant slot machine. Awasum won and advanced to take on Prather in the third leg of the competition.

big brother Xavier Prather
Courtesy of CBS

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The third part required Awasum and Pather to identify false statements about season 23's evicted houseguests. Ultimately, Prather picked out the most incorrect statements toedge out Awasum and become season 23's final HOH. And when it came down to decide who he wanted to bring to the final two, Prather chose to honor his deal with Frazier, who is late boxer Joe Frazier's son, and evict Awasum.

"I don't regret anything," she told host Julie Chen Moonves after being voted out.

Prather's decision followed him working with Awasum and Frazier throughout the season as part of an all-Black, six-person alliance called The Cookout, which also consisted of Hannah Chaddha, Tiffany Mitchell and Kyland Young. The Cookout had a mission of making it to the final six to ensure that a Black person would win Big Brother for the first time. (The show has only named a non-white winner three times since its inception in 2000.)

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All six members vowed not to vote one another out before reaching the final six and they devised a plan to pair up with one non-alliance houseguest, that way the Cookout member had a non-alliance buddy to sit next to on the block when it came time for the non-Black houseguest to go home.

The Cookout eventually achieved its goal and made Awasum, Chaddha, 21, Frazier, Mitchell, 40, Prather and Young, 29, the last six houseguests standing. With the final six secured, The Cookout needed to start picking one another off on the path to finale night. Mitchell got voted out first, followed quickly by Chaddha on a double elimination night. Young left next, just short of the top three, which came as a surprise to him because he and Prather made a final two deal.

Big Brother Tiffany Mitchell
Courtesy of CBS

Big Brother season 23 featured the most racially diverse cast in the show's history, with only seven white contestants out of the 16-person cast. This came after CBS promised in November 2020 that 50 percent of individuals cast on its unscripted shows would be Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).

In addition to naming a historic winner on Wednesday night, Chen Moonves, 51, announced who came out on top of the America's Favorite Houseguest vote. Mitchell narrowly beat out Derek Xiao to take home the honor — and the $50,000 prize, up from $25,000 in previous seasons.

"Thank you America," Mitchell said.

Big Brother will return with Celebrity Edition season 3 this winter.

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