Brandi Rhodes was recently interviewed by WrestlingInc.com owner Raj Giri to talk about joining the cast of WAGS Atlanta. During the interview, she discussed how the current political climate has affected professional wrestling.
Last month, Rhodes’ husband and current Ring of Honor world champion Cody Rhodes recounted a time where he told a fan to remove the Confederate flag from his profile picture on Twitter, who obliged. Brandi was asked if the business and its fans have gotten better about racism with the current state of politics in America.
“I honestly don’t correlate any of it to the political climate and anything that is happening right now,” she said. “I think people are just going to be people, and racism is a thing. If people have an inclination to be racist then they are going to be, and there is not a whole lot that you can do about it. The very positive moment that was posted on Social Media with Cody being from the South and, you know, in the South, a lot of things that are said where Northerners wouldn’t allow for the things to be said, and things like that. He has a fixation on that flag, and it is something that he will not tolerate. He just happened to say something to the guy about it. The guy came up to him and said that he is a big fan, and Cody said, well, you know, thank you, but it’s time to change that picture. The guy said, you know what? You are absolutely right, and it couldn’t have worked out any better than that. That is wonderful, and I think in that case, it was someone who wasn’t meaning to portray a racist message.
“Some people don’t know why they have pride in something that they do,” she continued. “Maybe it is family upbringing, and different things that they thought was tradition, but then they look at it on the flip side and realize how someone can see how somebody would say that it isn’t a good idea, and they change, or they stick to their guns. Either way, hey, you know, people are free to be who they want to be so you can’t change everybody, but it was nice in that situation that individual had a change of heart.”
As far as racism in wrestling, Rhodes said the business has always been known to push the boundaries of political correctness going all the way back to the Attitude Era. But she said she has never been confronted with outright racism during her time in the business. Her past experiences as a figure skater have shown her what institutional racism really is, and she hasn’t gone through that in wrestling.
“I grew up figure skating, and in figure skating there is only a handful of black people at the time figure skating with me. It was a lot of things that you can see easily. Being put at the very bottom of the list with around 20 girls when I was the only one who didn’t fall, like come on, but in wrestling, it’s not something that I have seen on the surface like that,” she said. “You talk about politically correct and all of that, wrestling has always been known to have an edge to it, so even in the Attitude Era, where people speak so fondly of, there was always that edge to wrestling that we don’t acknowledge now.
“For instance, when I was in college, I was shown in a women’s studies class of a Bra & Panties match where women were barking like dogs and getting on their knees for men, and in that class, it was highly shunned. They were talking about how this was terrible, and how they couldn’t believe it was happening, but at the end of the day it was entertainment and it wasn’t meant to do anything other than that. Wrestling has always been on that edge of a cliff in many areas as far as what is politically correct and not. I guess it all depends on how people view it, but wrestling continues to skyrocket and become so popular. I think every case, as they come, we will have to see, but for me personally I haven’t seen anything personally like I felt during my figure skating days.”
Rhodes will appear on the upcoming season of WAGS Atlanta, which premieres on E! on Wednesday, January 3 at 10 p.m. ET.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.