When I was unexpectedly tacked onto this panel at the final hour, I had no idea what to expect. Gerard Bonner, Sir Wilkins, Blue Magic, and Duke would be on the panel, as would CEO TK Trinidad, and I knew that. Black Wrestling’s current state and ways to improve it were the sole focus of the discussion. A light-hearted discussion at first turned into a far more serious discussion that was needed for everyone involved, those who tuned in, and those who call themselves wrestling fans.
The first and overarching question was: Has the state of black wrestling improved a lot, improved a little, or is it at a standstill over the last 10 years?
Black wrestling has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go, according to the panel members. It was brought up that historically there was only one Black wrestler allowed per roster, which was an amazing point to bring up. Other issues include dreadful gimmicks, the long or short reigns of black champions, and the numerous injuries that beset Black wrestlers. Bonner was able to succinctly summarize everything by saying:
“Looking in terms of how it’s improved over the years, I think it’s been dramatic, right. At the same time, I think the wrestling industry ends up being a microcosm of the larger society.”
In addition to Big E, Bianca Belair, and Kofi Kingston, we also talked about one of our personal favorites, Naomi. Among the panelists and in the ensuing conversation, there were some fascinating points, stories, and experiences, as well as some heartfelt moments that shed light on pivotal moments in the Black wrestling movement.
The greatest thing to come from this article was the call to action. As a panel, there were a few pieces of advice that were given to the members of the Black Wrestling Community. Those points of action were:
- Speak Up/ Calling it Out
Duke from Duke Loves Rasslin supplied the directive to speak up consistently and call it out. Duke said, “the squeaky wheel, they’re gonna have to listen, you’re forcing them to do it because you keep showing up and you’re letting them know.”
Find Ways to Get Involved
“Things happen when we speak up, and we have a platform. And we also have an ally inside the organization that can speak to what’s happening,” – Gerard Bonner. Bonner had so many great ideas to share, but this is the one that stuck out as far as action goes.
- Unify and Support
Blue Magic said this action point simply, “sometimes unification is what’s really needed conversations outside of certain realms is needed to so that we can approach something with a plan.”
My request was simple: Rededicate yourself to what you say you love. “Rededicating yourself in the proper way and making sure that you are investing your time because it’s just as valuable as your money and your voice in the places where they need to go”
- Learn the Language being spoken
Bonner came back to give fans one last call to action. “Yeah, let me let me jump in in that and say this learn the language that is being spoken. That is the key. … So, learn the currency of the space that you’re trying to impact. Because once you begin speaking their language, you can at that point, get whatever you want.”
Hopefully, everyone who saw this conversation gained something from it or learned something they hadn’t previously known. Women’s Wrestling Talk’s YouTube page has the video of the conversation. Fite TV aired the conversation as well.