'Big Brother 24' Makes History With Winner in Season Finale

Big Brother Season 24 just made history Sunday as Taylor Hale became the first Black woman to take home the grand prize in a non-celebrity edition of the game. Taylor had a difficult journey in the Big Brother house, subject to bullying by many of her fellow houseguests, but when it came time for the jury to cast their votes, her passionate speech seemed to have struck a chord with the evicted players. 

Selling her game against that of fellow finalist Monte Taylor – who brought Taylor to the final two – the beauty queen pointed out that it wasn't her two Head of Household wins that got her to the end, but her social connections and resilience in the face of adversity. She told the jury that while they could award Monte for his big moves and competition wins, they could instead choose to reward persistence and tenacity. 

"Jury members, I am challenging you to make the hard decision and change the course of this game and choose progress for the course of this game," she said in a speech that had multiple members of the jury in tears. "I can be the winner of this season and I promise you will not do it in vain if you do it tonight." In the end, the jury responded by voting Hale the winner 8-1, and the audience rewarded her by voting her America's Favorite Player – the first time a season winner has ever been named AFP as well.

Becoming the first Black woman to win a main season of Big Brother was the "exact goal' Taylor had coming into the game, she told Entertainment Weekly. "It is mind-boggling that I even pulled it off considering where I was on the first week and second week," she explained. Taylor continued of her difficult route to the end, "And there were so many times where it would've been very easy for me to step away from this game. I think everybody can understand that. But my purpose for coming to this game was so much bigger than just Taylor Hale playing. It was so much bigger than just trying to make a name for myself. There was a bigger moment for me that I knew that I had to fulfill, and somehow I ended up pulling it off. So 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."