Q &A: Big Brother’s Exiting Howard Overby on Surviving the House’s “Immature” Racism
Big Brother's 15th Season has been beset by controversy, turmoil and angry bed tipping from its first moments. Most of the fireworks have come around the racially charged statements of contestant Aaryn Gries, a blonde Floridian who seems to have stepped out of a "Mean Girls" manual. Last night, Howard Overby one of the two African American contestants who absorbed her sentiments, was voted out of the house by his fellow contestants after being nominated for elimination by Gries.
Yahoo spoke with Overby this morning as he was still taking stock of all he had been through.
How are you feeling today?
Feeling pretty good. Getting my thoughts together a little bit.
What are you looking forward to doing most today?
Getting somewhere and watching ESPN. Other than that, seeing my family of course.
What did you do last night after the elimination?
I got briefed by the staff and execs. Just kicked back. Put everything into perspective. Got filled in on things that are happening in the world. Took that in. I took time to pray. The crew that was with me last night, we just watched movies.
Couples Retreat, Fahrenheit 9-11 and For Colored Girls.
What surprised you hearing about how the show was received?
Oh man it was definitely a surprise. From where I'm from (Hattiesburg, MS) you kinda - you've seen these things before. And as heated as it got and as much as there were comments that I really didn't like - and I wasn't privy to every comment that was derogatory - I never thought that it would grow to be this big. You kinda lose the thought of how it would be received outside because you're inside the house so hearing it was very surprising, along with how it meshed with everything else that's going on in society right now.
Were the racist comments very much on your mind while you were in the house?
At the time, I'm always prepared for the worst. Coming into the house, that was one of the things that production asked: what are the things that I hate, and of course, I said, racism and messiness. I knew we had a lot of Southerners there. So I was anticipating it a little bit but until it happens in the moment you're never quite as prepared as you think you are. So you know, I stayed prayed up and tried to handle it as best I could. It definitely fractured any personal relationship that I might have wanted to have with anyone who made those comments. At the same time, you have to play the game and look over things. Its horribly hard being there and knowing that may be how someone thinks, but at the same you, you gotta look over it?
That moment where we saw you struggling to keep it together after the bed flipping incident was very powerful.
That night was probably the hardest. Knowing that Candice wants to retaliate and fight back. She wants the bed and she has every right to it. My thing was, I don't want to get involved but I was trying to be there for her. I wanted to do what she wanted to do but I just didn't feel that was a smart thing at that time, even though she wanted it so bad. Then I felt like a disappointment to her, I felt like a disappointment to people rooting for us, or who have been in that situation. I felt like a cop out or maybe a punk out of the whole thing because after all, not only did we leave the bed, we slept in the "have not" room which futher infuriated me. But I didn't want my temper to get involved and cause me to go home. Even if it would've felt good in the moment, it wouldnt've done me any good. After I got her calmed down and able to go upstairs, all my anger from it and wanting to do something about it, kinda overwhelmed me a bit.