You really wanted to get to the bottom of things with Xavier before you left the house. Julie had to keep reminding you to leave. I think that was a Big Brother first. Did Xavier’s goodbye message clear things up for you or are you still concerned that his family member doesn’t have anyone to look up to?
As soon as Xavier didn’t use the veto on me, I knew that what the deal was and that I was leaving the house and I understood the reason. Xavier didn’t want to compete in the way that we talked about, as far as getting to the end as strong competitors.
Xavier’s goodbye message confirmed two things. The first one was when he brought up “to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” but then refused to sit next to me at the end of the game. He also said he convinced Derek F to vote me out, which just wasn’t the reality. I told Derek F straight up, on multiple occasions, that it would be his best strategic move to vote me out. That’s something that I was fine with because I had decided that I would do my best to be in a position that he doesn’t have the opportunity – and if he does have the opportunity, then, I would just cross my fingers and hope that he doesn’t.
Xavier and I had very specific conversations and those were what my words with him were about. We had thought about how we as individuals and our families, looked up to heroes and competitors who faced challenges and their competitors head-on. That would be like a Goku [from Dragon Ball]or Kobe Bryant. They were known for facing their opponents head-on at their best. It’s not about ego or competition, it’s not about being better than anyone else, it’s literally about “How good can I be when I face a harder opponent?” It’s just about potential. As soon as we made Final 6 with the Cookout, we knew that we’d have a black winner. It was very idealistic to get our alliance to the very end of the game. We were breaking records and making history.
Since we were making history and had this idealistic win of the six of us, I decided to make sure that that first black winner, was exceptional in that epic way. Winning in a way where they faced the best players of the game head-on.
So, as far as my words go, if I misspoke or if there was a specific insult that was untrue to Xavier’s family, then I apologize for that. However, I’m pretty careful with my words and I’m pretty sure that that didn’t occur. All I did was bring up the fact that Xavier said that his family looks up to competitors who compete head-on, toe to toe and that he didn’t do that. So, it’s not that they can’t look up to him for other reasons…It’s just that that specific reason is one that they can no longer look up to him for. The reasons behind it are totally understandable and respectable, but I was addressing something specific. I am okay and hold zero regrets in doing that.
In that moment, did you feel that it was truly Derek F’s decision to vote you out or did you think it was Xavier’s?
I wouldn’t give credit to Xavier in that vote. I told Derek F that if he had the opportunity, then that would be his strategic decision. I was asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to just lie to him?” I was like, “Yeah, Derek F isn’t good at competitions, so if he wins the game or gets to the end of the game, he’s going to have use whatever moves he can.” For him, it’s very understandable that he doesn’t follow through on his word or doesn’t want to compete with people head-to-head because he doesn’t have those abilities. He must play his own game,
My hopes were that he just wasn’t going to win that veto or that Xavier won it to compete in the same caliber that I wanted to. As far as having an epic head-to-head battle with the two players with the biggest resumes in terms of social play, competition play, and strategic play – which was me and him. And as far as staying consistent with tactics that we use: being forthcoming, loyal and unselfish decision making.
Do you regret not taking Derek F up on his offer to solidify a Final 2 deal? Did you think you had a better chance of winning with Xavier?
I didn’t solidify my Final 2 deal with Derek F because to do so, would have required me lying to him and that wasn’t the way that I wanted to play the game. I was very careful with my words throughout the season and that was something that I believe was very important. The great players that I’ve seen play this game are very careful about their word selection as well.
So, for me I knew that it was a tactic that I could use was to manipulate his feelings or deceive him. But since I knew that we were going to have the very black winner in the history of the American Big Brother, I knew that there were certain things that I wanted to portray should that winner be me. Deceiving him in that way, was not the way to do it.
Honestly, I knew that I had a much better shot at beating Derek F than Xavier, but I wanted the two strongest players to go head-to-head. Out of the four that were left in the house, that was myself and Xavier and that’s why I wanted us to go to the end. I had told people that for a very long time, I think that it was just hard for them to believe that somebody could sit in those principles of wanting to play the game that way as opposed to someone who just wants to win.
For me, in this specific season, I just valued more things than just winning by any means. I wouldn’t change that value system in any way.
Was Tiffany always the first member of the Cookout that you wanted out first? You were supposed to throw an HOH comp to her and didn’t awhile back. If so, why? If not, who would it have been?
I was supposed to throw Week 6’s HOH to Tiffany and I was down to because I knew that she would be open to adjusting her target to me based on previous conversations. I didn’t know if other people would listen to me because of the relationships that I had with them, so she was the only person, along with Xavier that I would be open to as well. In that final moment, she hit the wrong answer, so I carried through and went with the plan that we had regardless of me or her winning that HOH.
As far as Tiffany being my first target when we got to six, that was absolutely not the case for most of the game. I was intending on being loyal to the final two we had together. I thought so highly of her gameplay and I loved that she articulated our plan to moving the Cookout to the end of the game. But then she, by her own admission, started making selfish moves. When I realized that we were going to have our first black winner and she told me that she was doing things that were selfish and disloyal, I knew that if I had to choose between Xavier or her, I knew that at that moment, Xavier had a stronger track record of doing things that were not disloyal or selfish.
I still think the world of her. I’m excited to keep that friendship going.
The 2-hour season finale of Big Brother Season 23 airs Wednesday, September 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global and CBS.