Vice recently interviewed Konnan about music, racism in wrestling and more. Below are a few highlights:
You're kind of the first guy in wrestling, certainly mainstream on Canadian TV, at least, that was engaged with rap in a very serious way. There were certainly other people who involved rap in their wrestling persona, but more in a tongue-in-cheek way. What was the reaction like in the locker room toward rap music?
"They didn't like it, you know, there were a lot of racial comments made toward that type of music, but I always considered the source. I always said to myself, 'You know, these guys are from the south, they probably went to school where all whites went to one, all blacks went to another. I'm sure they're still getting over the shock that Tiger Woods is better than any white golfer.' You know, that's how it was back then. They were kind of a little bit narrow minded when it comes to that. Right now, we're living in a multi-ethnic world, with so many mixed marriages and so many things that are crossing the boundaries that just weren't accepted then. They didn't have gay marriage in their day. So I just always considered the source, bro."
Well, before we finish talking about music, I wanted to hit on LAX and the theme song for LAX. You talk a lot about Public Enemy and nowhere is that influence more apparent for you than with LAX.
"That's exactly where it came from. I love a lot of the great civil rights leaders, and their militancy, and I looked at some of the Latino activists. I started LAX (Latin Americans Exchange) and basically the whole crux of the group was: if you weren't Latino you couldn't be with us. We were kind of reverse racist: just like whites hated minorities, we were Latinos that hated anything that wasn't Latino."
I mean, you say it's reverse racist, but to me, they make you guys into the bad guys. Nothing you were saying was ever untrue.
"Yeah, that was the thing. I mean, my promos were always different from anyone else. I never wanted to do a wrestling promo like, 'I want to retire you, you'll never come back.' I always wanted to do promos that made you think, and that was the main thing. Like one time, I said a thing that we also got a lot of flack from the Orlando police department for. I said, 'I'm just with the Orlando police department, I shoot first and ask questions later.' Which is something we're dealing with right now in 2016 and I said that back in 2006, you know? So, just a lot of issues, a lot of things that I actually felt. I would say how in TNA racial minorities don't matter—that was something I actually felt. They were always like, 'Wow, your promo it feels so real.' And I thought to myself, 'Well, yeah, because they are real!'"
I guess depending on which side of the fence you put yourself politically would depend on how you'd see that character, that whole storyline. It always felt weird to look at you as being the bad guy.
"Right. I mean, I was fighting against all the things that were true in the wrestling industry and in society—mainly racism. A lot of it was just predicated on that, and I mean we're still living in a racist world. When you look at the US right now—17 percent is Latino, 12 percent is black, and let's say another 5 percent is other. At the end of the day, 70 percent of the rest of the US is still white Anglo-Saxon. You've got to figure: how much of that 70 percent agrees with a lot of the rhetoric that [Donald] Trump is spewing? How many of them are progressive and see it for what it is? How many are just following a lot of his ignorance, you know?"
Much more is contained in the interview, including Konnan's thoughts on if there is a place for a progressive wrestling company, wrestling fans giving bans a bad reaction, Master P in WCW and more. You can read the full interview by clicking here.