On Monday, a day after “Us Weekly” reported that the show might stage an all-stars outing for Season 22, Season 21 alum Kemi Fakunle tweeted a cryptic message that has fans all atwitter (no pun intended).
“You only get a few once in a lifetime opportunities. Take demmmm,” she tweeted, along with a star eyes emoji.
Fans immediately speculated that she’s hinting at a Season 22 return.
KEMI DONT PLAY WIT US GIIIIIRL 😍😍😍🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥💕💕💕💯💯💯💯💯 praying this is what I think it is.
— Kiera Wallace (@kierawallace_) June 8, 2020
YOU BETTER NOT BE PLAYING. WE WANT YOU ON A SECOND SEASON
— Julia 🌺 (@JisooSoftyy) June 8, 2020
Kemi girl! You best be checking yourself if this isn’t what I think it is! Don’t be playing with us!
— Shyness12345🐝💛 #BlackLivesMatter (@Caleb_TheAriFan) June 8, 2020
WINNER OF BB22
— lily evans simp • blm (@sturmhondd) June 8, 2020
YES MAAM MUVA GETTING HER REDEMPTION
— jay™ (@coIacocas) June 8, 2020
Adding fuel to the fire was a reply from “Big Brother 15” alum Elissa Slater, who tweeted, “Yupppppp.”
— Elissa Reilly Slater (@ElissaReillyS) June 8, 2020
Before you get too excited, remember there’s no guarantee “Big Brother” is definitely happening this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, though CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl is optimistic the show and “Love Island” will air later this summer. Doing an all-stars season would also allow CBS to bypass its usual casting process for newbies (read: risk exposure to more people), but according to “Us Weekly,” several alums have already turned it down for various reasons, including the pandemic.
But if an all-stars edition is happening, a Fakunle return would definitely be noteworthy amid the Black Lives Matter movement and protests over the killing of George Floyd. Season 21 of “Big Brother” last summer was riddled with racist and ugly behavior, and Fakunle, who was the third houseguest and third straight person of color to leave, was the target of a majority of them, specifically from Jack Matthews. Many of his hateful comments, including that he would “stomp a mud hole through her,” were not included in the broadcast episodes, but Fakunle’s Diary Room threat to him about how she would “spin you right around and slit that throat” for nominating her was included, even after she followed it up with “Don’t air that!” Fans accused the show of perpetuating the “angry black woman” stereotype.
In August, Thom Sherman, CBS’ senior executive vice president of programming, said that a producer “overstepped” to get a soundbite from Fakunle and has been “reprimanded,” and that all producers have since received unconscious bias training. Kahl also vowed to “do better” for the 22nd season.
Julie Chen Moonves grilled Matthews, who apologized, in his exit interview, and the other jurors and finalists, namely eventual winner Jackson Michie, on the live finale, much to their shock. (#neverforget Michie’s final broadcasted line before the credits cut was “I’m not racist” to his mother.)
“Big Brother” has had a long history of problematic houseguests, so in some ways, it’s probably better off not being able to air as usual right now (it would normally premiere at the end of June). But if it’s truly committed to “do better,” extending an all-stars offer to someone who endured so much cruel hate, most of which she was not aware of until she got home, is a start.