The following is from WWE.com:
Superstars reflect on Black History Month
By: McKenzie Morrell
Every February the U.S. celebrates Black History Month, to commemorate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent. Over the years, WWE has brought together many people of all shapes, sizes and colors in order to break barriers for future Superstars and Divas.
Whether they’re ring veterans or new to WWE, the Superstars and Divas discussed those who have paved the way for them, and have been extremely significant in their lives.
“Norman Smiley,” said Diva Alicia Fox. “He actually helped train me. More so down in FCW when I personally met him, but he really gave me a different perspective of my presence in the ring. He told me that you could be entertaining as well as a dominant competitor, and pretty much was my most influential friend.”
Both Mark Henry and Kofi Kingston consider Ernie Ladd as one of their most influential ring warriors, stating that he set the path and opened a lot of doors for the black community. “Bobo Brazil was also another one that transcended territories and did a lot of wonderful things,” said Henry. “I’m proud to be a part of that legacy to come home to.”
Not only have these individuals made it possible for current and future Superstars and Divas to have the opportunity to flourish in WWE, they have also helped mold the people they’ve become.
According to Kingston, one of his favorite Superstars is Koko B. Ware, after whom he tried to pattern his ring style. Whether it was Koko’s constant energy or high-flying moves, “he was genuinely happy to be in the ring every single time” Kingston noted.
SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long told WWE.com how he became involved with WWE, and how he got to where he is today. “When I first started out in this business, I was taking jackets and coats when the wrestlers would go in the ring,” said Long. “I started refereeing and had a great career in it.”
According to Long the person he admired most was Tony Atlas. “I really enjoyed watching him – he was absolutely great for the black audience. Black people like to have their own heroes. Tony Atlas was certainly one of them.”
With their charismatic personalities and constant determination, there have been many Superstars from the black community that have made WWE what it is today. Superstars convey the idea that neither color nor ethnicity matter; it’s what you can do and how well you can entertain the audience.