Thursday, May 23, 2024

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MJ Jenkins speaks on black representation in wrestling

Former NXT Superstar MJ Jenkins spoke to Ring the Belle’s DS Shin in an exclusive interview following her release from the company. Sadly, Jenkins was one of many talents released from WWE just a few weeks ago as a result of cutting expenses from the current health pandemic. Shin discussed many topics with her including her release, pop stars that she loves, and even a rumored bad relationship with Naomi.

Jenkins first puts the kibosh on the “beef” rumor that she has with Naomi. She states that there is no bad blood between them. When she was first signed, past tweets came floating up which of course the internet ran with. She points out that no one ever talks about her positive tweets when she congratulated Naomi on her title win or anything of the sort. It all seemed to be focusing on the negative. For what it was worth, she did apologize to Naomi who felt that there was no need for the apology and they have always been good with one another.

From this came a discussion on the representation of African Americans in the wrestling industry. She dived into the negativity she first received when she started her wrestling career.

Jenkins said, “You wouldn’t see as many girls who looked like me on TV. I remember there was a time where I was told by somebody that I wouldn’t make it because I was black. It wasn’t anyone in this company (WWE), this was when I first started out. And then there is Naomi, there’s Alicia Fox and I am just like, this person told me that I wasn’t going to make it. But that’s because they gave up on their own dreams. I have to look at all the women that have been there.”

She continues, “Wrestling has come a long way. You have Sweet Georgia Brown who was the first-ever African American NWA Women’s Champion. You have Jazz. You have Jacqueline. Even Kristal was there. You have to look at things and see how far a company has come and how much effort they are putting into the representation. We have Sasha Banks. We have Bianca Belair. Even outside of WWE, we’re there, we’re present, it’s just on the people to recognize it and not just look at the negative.”

Shin continued with this topic referencing how Jenkins’ character is based on being unapologetically black and that WWE is often criticized on how they represent African American performers, most notably women. He asked what she felt about that during her time with the company and if they put forth the effort to represent black women.

“I feel like with everyone that was there they had to possibly look at the demographics. One of the reasons why I wasn’t used so much was ‘hey you are something special and we don’t want to put you out there just to be put out there.’ So I feel that they treated people who are African American or with African descent with more care. Let’s just not waste you, because when you go out there we need you to be the person. The focus that is going to be the representation of the black community.

The women we had were 50 something women so you can’t just like boom, boom, boom, throw this person – throw that person out. I did appreciate the fact that I was considered highly important enough to not just put out there as someone who was doing talent enhancement matches. That they felt that my value was more than that. It is something that you have to understand and not take it personal.”

For the full interview with Jenkins from Ring the Belle, you can view the video above. It is clear that MJ has a passion for the business and we here at Diva Dirt hope to see more from her in the future regardless of which company she is with.

What did you think of this interview? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

If any transcripts are used from this article please credit the exclusive to Ring the Belle and a h/t to Diva Dirt.

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