Revisionist history? Derek Frazier became the runner-up of Big Brother 23 during the live finale on Wednesday, September 29, when Xavier Prather beat him in a unanimous 9-0 vote to win the $750,000 and be crowned the first Black winner of the series.
The safety officer, 29, was shut out by the jury after his ally X won the final Head of Household competition and decided to bring him to the end over Azah Awasum.
Derek says he “put in a a lot of work” to get second place and he’s “OK with that.” Still, fans aren’t thrilled with the way he claimed the women in the alliance – Tiffany Mitchell, Hannah Chaddha and Azah – weren’t pulling their weight.
“Me, Xavier and Kyland [Young] were part of different alliances that were doing more work than what the girls were,” Derek exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Throughout the game, it was just like, Xavier’s over here really throwing comps, doing things. The girls weren’t hardly winning comps. Not even me! But, that’s why I said I was doing my part in making sure I do what? Cook, clean, entertain, do it all, baby! Whatever I need to do to pick up my weight and have conversations to put targets on other people that are not in The Cookout.”
As for the debate on who started The Cookout, Derek says, “Xavier came up with a name called The Cookout. But, I put all six of the members together.”
In response to Tiffany coming up with the plan to also play in duos outside the alliance, he says, “Xavier and I did come up a little bit with the plan that Tiffany came [up with], but Tiffany did put it all in full force and, like, cleaned it up for us, if that makes sense. And then obviously, me being a leader that I am, I felt as though I don’t want to take, you know, someone’s credit. … You got to give people an opportunity to give something to the team or they’re going to feel like they don’t have a voice. So when she came in the room and was like, ‘This is what we’re going to do’ and things like that, I remember turning to Azah, like, ‘Baby, I already said this, but I’m gonna let Tiffany take the credit because I don’t want no smoke with her. OK?’”
(Tiffany told Us in our interview with her, “I don’t think Big D ever knew what he was talking about.”)
Watch above or scroll down to read our full interview with Derek in which he also talks about why he felt like he carried Azah through the game, if he ever considered cutting Xavier and more.
Us Weekly: How are you feeling after the finale?
Derek Frazier: I’m doing great. I am so happy. I’m so excited. You know, being in a house for a very long time, I am happy to be back out here in the real world. I’m ready to take off running. But, I am so glad that I got an opportunity to be a part of Big Brother. First African-American to be second place [on] Big Brother, and I can’t ask for nothing else. And hey, I think I did a great job. (Editor’s note: Danielle Reyes placed second in season 3.)
Us: How did you think the votes were going to go? Who were you campaigning to most in the jury?
DF: I’m gonna be honest with you, Sharon. I don’t think I need to campaign to nobody. Xavier played an awesome game and he deserved it. I knew going into that, that I was not going to win. And I’m OK with that. I looked at Xavier and said, “Look, man, I’m OK. I just want second place.” I want to get here so I can say I made it to second place. And I believe that I worked hard to get to the end. I put in a lot of work. It was not easy being the socialite that I was in a house full of a lot of wolves. I just wanted to explain what I did because I think the jury had this view that I was just coasting or riding coattails or, you know, didn’t really do work. The jury, I wanted them to know there would not be no Cookout if I did not bring six individuals together. I put them before my own game. I wanted to explain that to the jury, and I also wanted to remind them once again, anybody could get it. No one’s safe. I will send you guys home and I am a threat, but you guys never saw that. So, you know, I’m very happy with the outcome. I’m not bitter or upset at all. Xavier earned it.
Us: So you never considered cutting Xavier if you had the chance?
DF: Yes. There was a point that I was considering cutting Xavier when I felt like Xavier at one moment was making a decision without me. I can’t remember what week it was. And I remember reminding Xavier, “Hey baby, me and you run this Cookout. OK?” Like, we are on the same page. You do competitions. I will do social. And we will be the perfect duo. But I knew that I made a bond with him, a brotherhood that cannot be unspoken. We come from similar lifestyles, so I knew I could not cut him. But, if there was a chance that he ended up on the block, and my hands were tied, then I would have to let him go. But I knew Xavier being here all the way to the end was good for me because we worked together. He would not be there without me and I will not be there without him.
Us: So let’s settle the debate: Who started The Cookout?
DF: I talked to all six of the individuals. I said, “We’re going to work together.” It first started as an understanding that we’re not going to vote each other out. And then Xavier came up with a name called The Cookout. But, I put all six of the members together. I talked to each and every single one of those individuals, and I say, “Hey, look me, you dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah is going to work together and we’re going to the end.” Now, Xavier and I did come up a little bit with the plan that Tiffany came [up with], but Tiffany did put it all in full force and, like, cleaned it up for us, if that makes sense. And then obviously, me being the leader that I am, I felt as though I don’t want to take, you know, someone’s credit.
Like, if she came up with it, you got to give people an opportunity to give something to the team or they’re going to feel like they don’t have a voice. So when she came in the room and was like, “This is what we’re going to do” and things like that, I remember turning to Azah, like, “Baby, I already said this, but I’m gonna let Tiffany take the credit because I don’t want no smoke with her. OK?” You got to give her some credit or she going to go off like a firecracker, you know? So I knew what it took to be a leader, especially me coming from a military school, especially me being a leader a lot in my life. I know at times you’re going to have people that are part of your team that come up with something, just let them have it, ‘cause they’re going to work better. They’re going to feel like, “Wow, I brought something to the team.” Going in there, I knew I didn’t have a chance of being able to explain it all because I was very quiet about my moves, but I made sure America knew what my moves were.
Us: Let’s talk about Azah. You felt like you carried her. How did you carry her if you weren’t winning comps? Can you explain that more?
DF: Yes. So, Azah was very … how can I say … she was very opinionated and she was very emotional a lot, and she would always go against the plan that me and Xavier already put in place in the beginning of the season. Keep in mind, me and Xavier were part of The Slaughterhouse. We were a part of the Butcher Squad. We were doing a lot of ground control, I would say the first five weeks, making sure things get done in order for people in our Cookout not to have to worry. So, for me, it was one of those things where Azah was not making moves or lying or manipulating and doing things because guess who was already doing that for her? Me. I would tell Azah, “Oh, that’s already done, girl. Don’t worry about that. Oh no, just come on, just go with the plan. We already got it.” There were so many things that were being put in place. And, like I said, I don’t know how the season was edited or portrayed. I don’t know until I sit back and watch it. But understand, in the game of Big Brother, you can sit here and try to play an honest game, but that’s not … in reality, you can’t just get to the end playing an honest game.
You’re going to have to get your hands dirty at some point. So with me and Xavier getting our hands dirty so many times and babysitting people, entertaining, making sure you’re planting seeds so then someone becomes the target, that allows someone like Azah to just play an honest game, which is fine. She took advantage and whatnot, and that’s OK. She’s my team member. I’m all right with that. But it got to the point, for me, where I felt as though it was hard to see eye to eye because it was one of those things where I was like, “Listen, I wouldn’t have got here if it wasn’t for you and you would’ve never got here if it wasn’t for me.” But me and Xavier definitely put in a lot more work. We were a part of more alliances and we had a lot more connections than Azah did. And that was what I was trying to say to her. I love her at the end of the day. She definitely earned her spot to be there. That’s why I kept her there when I had the decision to send her home. But, I kept her because I said she earned it. She deserves to be here. And I just feel like throughout the game there’s moves – and I don’t know how it was shown – but there were so many moves and conversations that were portrayed and done that she was not a part of.
Us: There were a couple of instances where you said the women of The Cookout weren’t doing as much as the guys. How did you feel like they weren’t doing enough?
DF: So, my thing was, when it came to the guys … what I mean by that is [that] in the beginning of the season, me, Xavier and Kyland were part of different alliances that were doing more work than what the girls were. I’m not saying the girls did not pick up their weight … I would say the first five weeks, or I would say the first four weeks, we were doing a lot of ground control. Frenchie’s fiasco was a lot of work, and we were doing a lot of ground control, which is epic, but we were doing a lot of ground control to cover for us. And then on top of that, we were doing a lot of more work. Kyland did a lot of work himself. Xavier did his own work. And I’m not saying the girls did not do as much because obviously, the girls had to do things in order for us to get there. But we were putting a lot more time and commitment and conversations and, you know, comps and whatnot, and coming up with plans and putting seeds down. At the end of the day, for me, it was one of those things where I did not have a very, very close relationship with the girls. Azah was my girl. I was going to protect her at all costs. But, throughout the game, it was just like, Xavier’s over here really throwing comps, doing things. The girls were hardly winning comps. Not even me! But, that’s why I said I was doing my part in making sure I do what? Cook, clean, entertain, do it all, baby! Whatever I need to do to pick up my weight and have conversations to put targets on other people that are not in The Cookout.
Us: If asked, would you ever play Big Brother again?
DF: Of course, I would do it again! I wouldn’t change one bit besides I would definitely do a lot more scheming than what I did this season. I definitely would do a lot more scheming, and I definitely will come back, uh, ready to go. ‘Cause, you know, being a big guy was really difficult at times. But, it got me to this far. So, I think I wouldn’t change a bit besides just a little bit more scheming.