Big Brother 23’s Xavier Reflects on Historic Win: It’s a ‘Tremendous Honor’

History has been made. Xavier Prather became the first African American winner of Big Brother after 23 seasons, beating out ally Derek Frazier with a unanimous vote during the live finale on Wednesday, September 29.

The attorney, 27, was in great spirits when Us Weekly caught up with him a few hours after his historic win.

“To be the winner of Big Brother is already a tremendous honor. So to be not only a winner of Big Brother but now the first Black winner in BB U.S. history is an amazing feeling,” he exclusively tells Us Weekly. “I came in the season having my own personal reasons to win, but I also wanted to crown a Black winner for the culture. And to be that person, that representative, for the game and the Black community is amazing. It’s a great feeling and something I’ll never forget.”

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Now that he’s $750,000 richer, Xavier has some plans for what he’ll do with the money – most of which involve helping out his family.

“First and foremost, I want to set some money aside from my nephew,” he tells Us. “That was my big motivation coming into the season outside of helping crown the first Black winner. I made a promise to my brother that I would always do what I can to look after my nephew, if ever I could. And with him gone, this helped me kind of keep that promise.”

The Michigan native added, “I’m gonna take care of a little bit of student loan debt. A law degree is a little expensive.”

Watch above or scroll down to read the full interview with Xavier in which he also talks about Kyland Young’s tense exit, why Tiffany Mitchell is a legend, who can take credit for starting The Cookout and more!

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Us Weekly: What does it mean to not only be the winner of Big Brother but the first Black winner of Big Brother?

Xavier Prather: To be the winner of Big Brother is already a tremendous honor. So to be not only a winner of Big Brother but now the first Black winner in BB U.S. history is an amazing feeling. I came in the season having my own personal reasons to win, but I also wanted to crown a Black winner for the culture. And to be that person, that representative, for the game and the Black community is amazing. It’s a great feeling and something I’ll never forget.

Us: And you won with a unanimous vote. How did you think the votes were going to go? Who did you feel like you had to convince on the jury?

XP: I thought it might’ve been 7-2. There were two votes I was a little iffy on: Britini, not because I have a bad relationship with Britini. I just knew she was very close with Big D or Azah. So I was like, “I might not get that one.” And Kyland, just because the last time I saw him things weren’t … we weren’t exactly in the best of moods. So, I wasn’t sure how that was going to go, but I mean, they both voted for me. For Kyland, I tip my cap to him because that shows he was still able to evaluate how I played the game simply from a game perspective and put any of our last differences aside. So I think that speaks to who he is as a person. And I appreciate all the votes because it helped me get a good check.

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Us: What did you think of Kyland’s sort of non-apology and doubling down on what he said about your nephew?

XP: With Kyland, I know Kyland’s definitely a thinker, he’s analytical. Ky and I will have a discussion. I think what he said and how it was perceived, I think that’s where we had a little bit of a difference of opinion. But, we’ll have a conversation about that. We’re two grown men. We can sit down, have a conversation about it, be cordial. Kyland’s not someone I feel like I could ever hate, nor do I think Kyland’s a bad person. That’s just how the game goes. Sometimes emotions get hot, but I wish nothing but the best for him. I would never take away from what he did for The Cookout. I wouldn’t be in those two chairs if Kyland hadn’t been a part of this game. And so, nothing bad to say about Kyland. The incident was what it was. We’re going to talk about it and move forward.

Us: Let’s talk about The Cookout, the most successful Big Brother alliance in history. Let’s settle the debate: Who started it?

XP: Whoever’s saying they started it, they can say they started it. I just wanted to end up in those final two chairs, or somebody to end up in the final two chairs. I would say, in my opinion – you know, my personal opinion, Big Brother opinion – I would say Big D kind of got everybody together. I came up with the name and I’ll leave it at that. That’s my personal opinion. If other people feel like they started it, maybe they did some things I didn’t know about. So I don’t know. I think we all had the vision in mind. No one better say that they came up with the name. ‘Cause that’s mine.

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Us: No, don’t worry. That seems to be the consensus.

XP: Yes. All right. Well then whatever. Whoever else started it, I don’t care.

Us: Azah was likely going to take you to the end if she had won that final HOH. How do you think you would have done sitting next to her?

XP: I think I probably would have had a little bit more of a run for my money with Azah. Azah won the final five HOH, and for her to win part two and part three in the final HOH, I think people definitely would have taken that into consideration. And her overall gameplay, Azah was nominated once and never had a single vote cast against her. Truthfully, out of all the members of The Cookout, she was probably the most honest with everybody else and had the most relationships in the jury. So I don’t think it would have been a landslide, if I would have won at all. I think Azah played a great game and I think she would’ve given me a run for my money. No doubt.

Us: Speaking of that HOH that she won, did you throw that?

XP: I didn’t throw that competition actually. Azah beat me fair and square. I just couldn’t get those balls to stay on that grass and she did. So no, I would never … she earned that win fair and square. I threw a lot of competitions, but that wasn’t one of them.

Us: If it had been Azah versus Big D at the end, who would you have voted for?

XP: That’s a tough one. My loyalty wants to say Big D, and also, I know a lot of the social manipulation game that Big D did play. He played a very strong social game. But, I think Azah played a strong social game in our own right. So, I’m going to professionally plead the fifth on that one and just let somebody else answer that. That can be their problem.

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Us: I have to ask about the week Tiffany won HOH and you were upset with her. Do you think you were too hard on her or that your feelings were warranted?

XP: Well, Tiffany made history, so, like, I get it. She was straight up like, “I wanted to make history.” I was like, “You did, but now I got to go on the block.” And I had just seen the block two weeks in a row. I would say from a Cookout perspective, I don’t think it was unwarranted. I think multiple members of the Cookout felt a little … felt some type of way just from her winning. Truthfully, looking back, it all worked out so it doesn’t really matter. Tiffany is a legend in this game. She always will be. She’s one of very few people, if any, who have won back-to-back HOHs. So, she won it and put a bigger target on her back, and that worked out in my favor. So, that’s fine with me.

Us: I’m glad you said that because there were a few times where Big D and Kyland, in particular, were saying that the women weren’t doing as much for The Cookout as the guys. Do you that’s fair to say?

XP: I felt like everyone in The Cookout contributed to The Cookout’s success in their own way. Some people won competitions. Other people were positioning themselves well in the house to make sure to influence others, to be like, “Hey, Kyland is not actually a target” or “Hey, Xavier is not actually a target.” And then when it came time for the members who had played a strong social game to then start winning competitions, they did. So I won’t take away from any member of The Cookout’s game at any point in the season, because I think everything that every member did got us to the final six. And I don’t think I can take away from any type of strategy that clearly worked.

Xavier Prather, Derek Frazier, Hannah Chaddha, Azah Awasum, Tiffany Mitchel, and Kyland Young. CBS

Us: You told people in the house you were a bartender but they called you out for not knowing how to make certain drinks. Why choose that profession?

XP: I didn’t care. I was like, “Go ahead and ask me to make drinks.” From the seasons I’ve seen, there’s not a bunch of liquor that gets brought into the Big Brother house. So I was like, usually it should just be beer and wine. And truthfully, with the type of bartending that I do, I only am given a certain amount of alcohol. Like, I’m not a full bar that you would see in like a Miami club. It’s a wedding. People aren’t out here trying to get crazy, they’re just trying to have a good time. So I was being honest. I was just like, “Yeah, I don’t know that drink.” I don’t feel the need to lie or do a bunch of research. I’m just going to be honest about the modeling and the bartendering. I left a couple of other secrets, but they found out eventually.

Us: Yes, that was fun. I know you had The Cookout but do you think you would have been targeted earlier had you been honest about being a lawyer?

XP: Yes. A hundred percent. Anyone who says otherwise, I think they’re lying because Travis went out week one after he started talking like, “Oh, I’ve done this, I’ve done this, I’ve done that.” Even in my head, I was like, “Threat. He’s got to go.” So yeah, I think if I had told people I was a lawyer, they definitely, probably would have been like, “OK, either one, we can’t trust anything he says because he has an ulterior motive.” Or two, “Just threat, get him out.”

Us: Now that you’ve won the biggest prize in BB history, any big plans for the money?

XP: First and foremost, I want to set some money aside from my nephew. That was my big motivation coming into the season outside of helping crown the first Black winner. I made a promise to my brother that I would always do what I can to look after my nephew, if ever I could. And with him gone, this helped me kind of keep that promise. I’m gonna take care of a little bit of student loan debt. A law degree is a little expensive. And then, help my family and friends out with as much financial issues that they’re having as I can. This wasn’t a win necessarily for my financial gain, I wanted to win this to help the people I care about. And now I’m in a position to do that and it feels great.

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Us: If they ever asked you, are you interested in playing Big Brother again?

XP: I’m gonna need a break for a little while. 85 days is a long time. I’m gonna need to decompress, see what society is like again. It feels like a Truman Show experience. I need to hang out for a little bit, but I won’t say it’s out of the realm of possibility for a future season. Probably not next season, but we’ll see. We’ll see. Stay tuned.

Us: What are you most excited for now that you’re back in the real world?

XP: Truthfully, I just want to go see my family. I haven’t seen my family for 85 days. I haven’t even been in contact with them for 85 days. So as soon as I can get on a plane and go see them, that’s what I want to do. I’ll hit up my homies too. I’m sure they’ll probably be like, “Wow. So drinks are on you.” And I’ll be like, “No, maybe next time.”

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