Mustafa Ali spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated about a wide array of topics surrounding America's current justice system, the Black Live Matter movement, and trying to educate fans with WWE as his platform.
Before becoming a WWE Superstar, Ali worked as a police officer for four years with the Homewood Police Department, a suburb of Chicago. With the police killing of George Floyd — and numerous other African Americans — protests across the country have continued on as a revolution toward change has made its way to the forefront.
"The Black Lives Matter movement isn't something that happened overnight," Ali said. "It's not something over one Black man being murdered. This is 400 years of getting shoved and hit and kicked and spit on and murdered and raped, insulted and degraded, and killed. This is 400 years of that. The Black Lives Matter movement is essential to the survival of every Black man and woman in this country. Yeah, there's going to be that permanent scar there and the only way to really repair that relationship is massive change. And yes, it starts with the police."
Ali noted that a change in police reform will obviously help, but felt the entire system needs to move away from being profit motivated.
"The system is not designed to help people," Ali stated. "It's designed to hunt people. Until we reform the entire system and we get [away] from any kind of profit motives, then there will be no reform. There will be no change. You take the money and the profit out of it, that's when you'll reform. That's when you'll see change."
With WWE's reach, Ali commented about what he can do as a Superstar to help educate the fans about different issues.
"WWE's primary purpose is to entertain, but I believe, given this huge platform we have, our responsibility is to also educate," Ali said. "I'm proud of the fact that when I've had the opportunity to educate and speak on matters such as this, I have. I've dropped lines in promos where I've said, 'I've seen evil amongst the people that I've swore to protect and serve, and I've also seen evil amongst those that have sworn to serve and protect.' Anything we can do to get people thinking, get people away from what they routinely believe, is key. Any time I have an opportunity to challenge the narrative or educate, I'm going to do it.
"The way I'm using my presence as a WWE Superstar to help combat bigotry is my mere presence on screen, with the name Mustafa Ali as a form of protest. We as a society like to live in this little box where we try to fit everyone inside this box. If you're a Black person, you're a thug. If you're Middle Eastern, you're a terrorist. They want to put us inside this box, [but I am] just refusing to live inside that box and be outside that box, refusing to conform in any way. Making them uncomfortable with that is my way of protest, my way of combating bigotry. And I'll proudly continue to do it."
You can check out the full interview in the video below.
I wanted to share the full version of my @SINow interview in which I discuss my support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement as well as how the current policing and criminal justice system does not help people, it hurts people.— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) June 12, 2020
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