- A pro wrestling manager is working to blend Black culture into All Elite Wrestling.
- A former AEW star Big Swole once blasted the company for a lack of diversity.
American wrestling manager Stokely Hathaway says he’s working to blend Black culture into rising pro wrestling company All Elite Wrestling (AEW).
The 31-year-old is a former wrestler, having competed at Ring of Honor; however, he has developed his credentials as a manager for Major League Wresting, WWE, and, since May 2022, AEW.
Last month, Hathaway said the name of his emerging roster of fighters at AEW is called “The Firm,” after courting talents like Ethan Page, Juliam Lee Moriarty, and Colten Gunn. Maxwell Jacob Friedman is The Firm’s marquee wrestler.
In a recent interview, The Root — an African American-oriented online magazine — talked to Hathaway about how he integrates Black culture into his promo clips.
“I try to appeal to everyone, but obviously I’m Black,” said Hathaway. “I love Black culture, as I should, [and] I wouldn’t change who I am, what I love, for the world.”
‘Even if you aren’t Black, you can go … I get it. That’s funny.’
Hathaway continued: “When I first got into this, my goal was to have other people who look like me go, ‘Oh, I can do this too.’ Not to necessarily be a manager, but whatever they want to do, right?
“I’m on national television, twice a week, and hopefully some kid who looks like me or who can identify with what I do, they can hear the references, they can watch the promos, and they go, ‘Oh, that’s cool, he’s appealing to me. Maybe I can do this too.’ So it may sound crazy but that’s been my goal.”
He later added that he tries “to blend in” these references in a way that appeals to a wide variety of people. “That’s a challenge,” he said.
“People like me look forward to those challenges and just trying to make it work, to where even if you aren’t Black, you can go, ‘Oh, I know what he’s talking about. I get it. That’s funny,'” Hathaway said.
Hathaway’s comments follow a former AEW wrestling star blasting the company for a lack of diversity
Hathaway’s comments and presence follow former AEW star Big Swole blasting AEW for what she called a lack of diversity.
“My heart stopped being in it as the reason why I left AEW,” Swole said on her Swole World call-in show last year, according to Wrestling Inc.
She said at that time that one of AEW’s biggest issues is diversity.
“I do not beat around the bush when it comes to diversity and my people,” Swole said.
“There is no representation, truly, and when there is, it does not come across in the Black community as genuine. At all. I don’t know why everybody is so afraid to accept it or say it, but it’s not a good look.”
AEW films twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays. It has a broadcast deal with TNT.
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