The former SmackDown Women’s Champion discusses her experience as a Black woman in wrestling.
While guest appearing on Ebro Darden’s ‘The Message’ series on Apple Music, WWE’s Bianca Belair dove into her experience as a Black woman in wrestling.
Belair expressed that she and other Black women do not have luxury of just going out to the ring and performing because there’s additional pressure that comes with it. She wants to make sure she’s representing the right way. She often reflects on when she was a child and thinks about the role models that inspired her and knowing that she’s now doing that for some of the viewers who watch her.
Yeah, it’s a whole different level of not just being a woman but being a Black woman and being an athlete and being in WWE and being the representation. I always say that being a Black woman, we don’t have the privilege to just go out there and just perform. There’s so much that’s on our shoulders. When I go out there specifically, for me, I can’t speak for everyone else but, I’m not just worried about performing. I’m worried about representing and making sure I’m doing it the right way and knowing that my role, the role that I play, I inspire so many different people being a Black woman so, it’s added pressure when it comes to that and you know, with being — me and Sasha Banks being the first two Black women to ever main event WrestleMania, that was such a huge deal and anyone that goes back and watches that match, I get so emotional in the beginning of that match because I understood the significance of that moment and how powerful that moment is and how it doesn’t come about very often and I can’t wait until it becomes the new norm and so it’s definitely added pressure there but you know, for me it’s all about knowing my why and knowing — I always say this; I always go back to when I was a little girl and I think about the role models that influenced me and how it changed the whole trajectory of my life and how it influenced where I am right now and to think that I’m doing that for other people, that’s my role and that’s my why. But that’s that added pressure. We don’t have that privilege to just go out there and perform and compete and that’s all we’re worried about. It’s that added pressure of representing and representing the right way.
Belair wants to help continue changing the perception of what a woman in wrestling looks like. She recounted how she’ll be in public with Montez Ford and pedestrians won’t bat an eye at Montez being a wrestler but will tell Bianca that she does not look like one.
She added that there is something magical about being a part of WWE’s women’s locker room and said they all define what beauty means to them individually.
Well for one, just changing the image, the perspective of what it means to be female wrestler. I’m in WWE at an amazing time when women are on the main stage, we’re performing and putting on matches the same way as men are. We’re main eventing WrestleManias but also we’re main eventing on a weekly basis on Raw, SmackDown, all the pay-per-views that are happening, we’re main eventing. We’re showing up and we’re showing out and I feel like a lot of times when people think about women athletes and women in sports, they always say, ‘What do women need to do differently to get these opportunities?’ We don’t need to do anything differently. We just need those opportunities because when we get them, we show out. Also, just being a woman wrestler, it’s so many times when I walk into a venue or I walk into an airport or just a public space and people — I’m with my husband [and] they go, ‘Oh, you’re a wrestler?’ And they understand my husband being a wrestler but sometimes they look at me and they say, ‘You’re a wrestler? You? You don’t look like a wrestler.’ What does that mean? What do you mean I don’t look like a wrestler, you know? And I wanna change that perspective. We can be whatever we wanna be. We can define what it means to be a female wrestler, whether we wanna highlight our femininity, whether we wanna highlight our strength, our beauty, whatever we wanna do, we can do that and I want people to realize there isn’t one type of female wrestler in WWE. We have so much diversity in the women’s locker room. Every single woman represents something different. Anyone can watch WWE and find someone that they can relate to and that’s what’s amazing and magical about WWE and being a female in WWE and being a part of the female locker room is that we all define what beauty means to us and I want that to be what people think of when they think of female wrestlers. It’s not just one thing.
Belair is a part of the Raw brand and to get a recap of the 12/6 episode of Raw from Memphis, Tennessee, check out the latest Rewind-A-Raw podcast.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Ebro Darden’s ‘The Message’ series with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.