After delivering a rousing speech highlighting her tenacity in the face of adversity, Taylor Hale made history Sunday as the first Black woman to win a non-celebrity edition of “Big Brother.”
During the Season 24 finale of the long-running reality program, Hale and Monte Taylor battled for the crown after Taylor won the final Head of Household competition and decided to take Hale to the end with him, according to Yahoo News. The historic episode marked the first time a Black woman and a Black man were the final two houseguests on the show.
Hale beat Taylor eight votes to one after making a passionate plea that challenged jury members “to make the hard decision and change the course of this game and choose progress.” Some viewers hailed the 27-year-old’s remarks as the most powerful closing argument ever delivered on the program.
“I have bled out the most in this game, but I have bandaged myself together every single time and gotten up and continued to fight because — like so many other women in the world — that is what we have to do to get to the end. We have to take care of ourselves and put ourselves first while also looking out for the rest of the ones who are behind us,” Hale said.
“I have overcome so much in this game, and I’ve come to understand that I am not a shield. I am a sword. I am not a victim. I am a victor.”
Hale’s groundbreaking victory was the ultimate comeback after the personal stylist from West Bloomfield, Mich., survived the chopping block six times throughout the competition. Earlier in the season, some of the houseguests bullied Hale and attempted to form an all-white alliance against her.
“If there is one word that is going to describe the entire season, it is resiliency,” Hale continued in her address to the jury.
“And if you are to ask yourself who the most resilient person of this season has been, it is me. … I have never given up on myself and I refuse to do it tonight when I’m sitting next to such a strong competitor.”
Sunday’s momentous finale comes nearly two years after CBS pledged to increase its representation of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to 50% of the casts of its unscripted series, including “Big Brother.” Last year, attorney Xavier Prather became the first Black contestant to win a non-celebrity edition of the show.
“My purpose for coming to this game was so much bigger than just Taylor Hale playing,” Hale recently told Entertainment Weekly in an exit interview.
“It was so much bigger than just trying to make a name for myself. … I just want future Black women ‘Big Brother’ players to know that they can come into the game, and they don’t have to be bullied or harassed or painted as a villain. They can just be themselves. And win.”