Big Brother and other CBS reality shows will strive to cast at least 50% people of color going forward, in an effort to add much more diversity to shows that have run for decades with mostly white casts. The news was welcomed by many former players from Big Brother and Survivor, though some like Season 3 houseguest Marcellas Reynolds had some additional thoughts on the matter.
Reynolds, who made history in the franchise as the first gay Black man to be on Big Brother, spoke to TMZ about the decision made by CBS. Reynolds was, of course, happy about the initiative by CBS, but did wonder why it had taken so long for something like this to happen:
I’m actually shocked that it took CBS this long when they’re probably the number one network in reality television that has so many hit shows like Survivor, Amazing Race, of course, Big Brother, that it took this long to address that is inherent in all of their shows and has been going on for so many decades at this point.
Marcellas Reynolds joined the Big Brother franchise towards the beginning of its run, so no doubt he's seen many of the problems the show has struggled with in terms of diversity and inclusion in seasons that followed. Big Brother has never been a stranger to racial tension in the house, with a consistent trend of at least one major controversy involving race happening once a season.
Big Brother has also had a trend in which minorities have struggled in the game and are often targeted by a white majority alliance, whether intentional or not. To date, a black player has not won American Big Brother, with the exception of Tamar Braxton winning an abbreviated 30-day version of Celebrity Big Brother.
While adding to the diversity of casts will add a bit of fairness to games like Survivor and Big Brother, the inclusion is also important for another reason. Marcellas Reynolds mentioned some personal anecdotes from the time he was on the show and how much his appearance meant to others who watched the show:
Setting up these about that affect the diversity of these casts… I was like this historic houseguest because I was the first Black, gay kid, and still to this day, I still get notes from people, who are like, ‘Oh my god, I came out to my parents because you were on television.’ ‘Oh my god, the first conversations I had about being gay were because I saw you, and you were someone that was like me.’… Diversity and inclusion matter. Kids need to see themselves represented on screen so that they can see that there’s someone else like them so that they don’t feel alone.
With more inclusion than ever before, the odds of minorities seeing players that better represent themselves on Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Big Brother will be much greater. It'll hopefully also lead to a new era of the game for Big Brother, in which players are more aware of the differences in the world and the show ultimately features more positivity than controversy. That may be optimistic for a show that has as much tension as Big Brother, but it's not impossible to hope for.
Big Brother will return to CBS in 2021 with Season 23, and a much different looking cast than ever before. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more on the franchise in the meantime, and for more news happening in the world of television and movies.