No, The “Big Brother” Cookout Alliance Is Not Reverse Racism

    "This is not about oppressing the non-Black people in the house. It's about empowering themselves.”

    On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed the Big Brother alliance The Cookout. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

    Listen on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts. You can also find BuzzFeed Daily wherever else you might listen to your favorite podcasts!

    So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to Big Brother superfan and RHAP podcaster Mari Forth about the racist history of Big Brother and the current season's Cookout alliance. Here's some of what we learned:

    BuzzFeed Daily: Before we get into what's going on with the show this season, which is amazing, we need to dive into some Big Brother history and the fact that this show has a pretty racist history. Can you set the scene for us?

    looking back at some of the racist moments from BB15 absolutely infuriates me. if i would’ve been candice, i would’ve mopped the floor with aaryn’s racist ass and called her out in front of the whole country. and gm, well, 🐑🐑🐑. #BB15

    Twitter: @theotaurus

    Mari Forth: So in the last 22 seasons of Big Brother, there have been just various degrees of microaggressions, bullying, racial slurs, and abuse aimed at Black house guests. And the show itself is just — I hesitate to call it a racist show, because when you start saying stuff like that, people's ears kind shut off, in a sense. But the history of it is right there.

    So in the 22 seasons, minus this current season, normally you only have one to two Black people cast per season. And because of this, you get tokenism, and tokenism can often lead to isolation at best case and bullying at worst case. And worst case, a lot of Big Brother fans will tell you and that we've seen, is season 15. Season 15 is the most infamous season. People call it the most racist season. It is literally the reason why on the Big Brother live feeds there is a disclaimer about what the contestants say on the show.

    And I'm sorry, just for any listeners who don't watch Big Brother, it's a reality show that's happening right now in real time. And you can watch them on the live feeds 24/7, every day of the week and it's like 99 days. So from day one to day 99, you can just see it all basically. We've seen the biases and the prejudices from so many houseguests and it really affected a lot of viewers like myself who are Black and who have to sit through this season after season after season. Big Brother has, in 22 seasons, never had a Black winner. There have been three winners who are people of color, but we've never had a Black winner. And often the playing field has never been level for Black players. So this is why this season has just been so monumental to watch.

    BuzzFeed Daily: I think we can all agree that reality competition shows in general have a pretty fucked up history when it comes to race. But it seems like Big Brother in particular struggles with this. Now, you've already mentioned the issue of representation, like not casting enough Black contestants, but it seems like there's also something about the mechanics of the game itself that lends itself to racism. Would you agree with that?

    Aaryn from Big Brother season 15

    BuzzFeed News: Now I want to move on to what's going on this season because it is absolutely brilliant and amazing. Every time I talk about it, I get chills because the gameplay is just so amazing. This is coming from someone who's only watched two seasons of the show and I'm like, "Wow, I need to watch this." Why it's so big is because we have an alliance known as the Cookout. How have these contestants taken matters into their own hands? Can you describe what they've done?

    Photo of the Cookout alliance from Big Brother 23

    BuzzFeed Daily: There are so many reasons to be fans of this alliance, one of them being the fact that it's just an ingenious strategy. Can you explain exactly how the alliance is working?

    Members of the Cookout alliance in superhero costumes

    BuzzFeed Daily: Inevitably, there are some people who are not happy about what's going on right now, including some OG Big Brother fans. So what are people complaining about online?

    The Big Brother alliance The Cookout celebrating

    You can learn more about diversity in reality TV by watching or listening to Black Voices of RHAP: The State of Black Representation in Reality TV and Podcast Coverage and the Black Voices of Survivor Roundtable.

    In other news, Ryan Fischer, who was shot while walking Lady Gaga’s dogs, has opened up about the experience and why he started a GoFundMe.

    Still from an interview with Ryan Fischer with a chyron: Lady Gaga's Dog Walker Speaks Out

    Moving on, if you’ve seen the photo Keke Palmer posted of her Met Gala meal, you know it didn’t look particularly appealing — to the point that people were comparing it to the cheese sandwich from Fyre Fest.

    Screenshot of an Instagram story from Keke Palmer featuring a photo of a plate of meat and veggies and the caption "This why they don't show y'all the food...I'm just playinnnn"

    As always, thanks for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hi, you can reach us at