Representation Matters Pt. IV: That One Time When I Felt Inspired By an Indie Pro Wrestling Show Of All Things (Yes, Really.)

Here’s one of the most out of left field posts I’ve ever done regardless of my Representation Matters series. Feel free to check out my older posts with parts 1, 2, and 3.

This post might give some people whiplash if they know anything about me. I wouldn’t blame you if you raised an eyebrow. I’m actually going to talk about pro wrestling on this blog. Yes, even I’m shocked, too. Think about it, I, Curtis AKA Ospreyshire…an avant-garde spoken word artist/musician, film critic of random obscure international films/anime/documentaries, DIY author who writes deconstructive fiction, geography nerd, African history/culture enthusiast, and someone who likes a good amount of art that could be considered “highbrow” actually has an interest in the indie pro wrestling scene even if I don’t consider myself super knowledgeable about it. Before I get to the core of this article, let me clarify a few things.

1. I know it’s a pre-scripted and predetermined form of entertainment.
2. People have no right calling it “fake” when they watch reality shows let alone movies or other TV programs. Besides, even real sports events have had moments of being rigged/fixed like boxing and MMA at times.
3. It’s stage combat and one could make a case pro wrestlers are actors who do their own stunts with no chance to re-edit the videos if you really think about it.
4. I’m not a fan of WWE especially currently, and I’ll get into that later in this post.
5. Yes, I know there can be stupid stuff in pro wrestling which causes me to facepalm, but don’t act like your interests are lacking in idiocy at times.
6. I also have a small affinity for some real sports outside of this field, thank you very much.

My interests really are eclectic even if it seems random or partially contradictory, right? Hahahaha! 😛

My history with pro wrestling is a strange one. I wasn’t allowed to watch it when I was a child, and I grew up around the time when it was insanely popular with WCW and back when WWE was called WWF (The pandas would win against Vince McMahon in that lawsuit in the early 00s!). Some of the biggest names at the time were the NWO, Sting, Stone Cold Steve Austin, DX, and The Rock long before he became a Hollywood household name. I knew the names of a bunch of them, but I never watched it. Of course, I also grew up during the time when Macho Man Randy Savage was in those Slim Jim commercials, so these wrestlers were everywhere despite not seeing these TV shows or live events. I had friends and eventually coworkers who were knee deep in that interest and they would tell me about a bunch of things even to this day, so I had some knowledge even if it was secondhand. Some online reviewers I used to watch made some videos about this subject from time to time, so I had a tiny bit of familiarity early in my adulthood.

For those who follow Iridium Eye, some of you might remember me reviewing the documentary Eddie Dennis: A 5 Year Old’s Dream last year. It was part of my portfolio of atypical topics I’ve covered in documentary form on the blog like how I’ve also reviewed Paralympic fencers (Beatrice), the Asexual community ((A)sexual), or an experimental band who uses faith-based lyrics while wearing matching nurse/doctors outfits (Danielson: A Family Movie) just to name a few. Eddie Dennis is a Welsh wrestler who used to work as a math teacher at a boarding school (I’m not making this up). He quit his job to wrestle full-time and he eventually got a contract last year. It was an interesting watch even though it wasn’t my favorite film, but it opened up a rabbit hole into this immersion of the UK indie wrestling scene AKA BritWres over the past several months where I was exposed to multiple smaller feds and indie wrestlers. That’s how it got started. I was then exposed to the Nottingham-based promotion Wrestling Resurgence in my research. They do all their shows in art galleries and museums. One of the owners is also a university professor who has an immense background in avant-garde art, ballet, and theater. I can’t make any of this up to save my life. I saw some matches from that company and liked what I saw. The thing that REALLY caught my eye involved just two words…

Everything Patterned.

Everything Patterned Picture

This was a show curated by South Londoner wrestler “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson. Everything Patterned was a major event of it’s kind since it involved a majority black card featuring wrestlers from England, America, Jamaica, and Uganda. This was to commemorate Black History Month in the UK where it’s celebrated in October (How come they get more days than us in America who only celebrate it in February even when the UK has a smaller black population compared to the US?). It was considered a big marketing risk, but the event was sold out when it was hosted in Leicester. I bought a digital copy of the show from their Vimeo page (the link is above the poster image) and thought it was great by seeing this positive representation going on. The matches were fun. It was awesome seeing the Rhio/Blaze match and seeing two strong women who are talented athletes that don’t resort to ratchet behavior. The main event between Johnson and Rampage Brown (not featured since he was a last-minute replacement for the then-injured O.J.M.O.) was a great heavyweight match where it was two guys fighting and you can take them seriously. There wasn’t an ounce of buffoonery in the headlining match. The Omari/Warren Banks match was insane in athletic prowess and would put so many cruiserweights to shame. Both of them are roughly 6’4″ and can pull off moves that one would expect only shorter wrestlers to do. I know the bloggers who know about my taste in movies are going to notice this, and I’m going to say this right now. No! I surprisingly didn’t freak out when one of the tag team matches involved a team called The Lion Kings. Long story short: One of the members of the LKs actually thanked me for telling him about Kimba the White Lion or how bogus Disney was with the Hakuna Matata trademark when I emailed him and we had a great discussion about Africa. There were serious moments, some funny moments, and some good in-ring action. It was a breath of fresh air not seeing any racist stereotypes or shucking and jiving going on like multiple cases of mainstream wrestling. Vince McMahon wouldn’t have the balls to pull something like this off (Yeah, I said it!). I wish nothing but success to everyone involved. It would also be phenomenal if at least one of the wrestlers from the Everything Patterned show could start their own promotion/federation in the near future.

Here are the videos that promoted the event as well as highlighting different perspectives of representation among other important factors in the context of wrestling.

Roy Johnson:

The O. J. M. O.:

Chakara:

Darius Lockhart:

Sugar Dunkerton [Context: Kofi Kingston was still holding the WWE World Championship at the time it was filmed]:

I found their insights to be quite fascinating and I legitimately never thought about those things in that realm of athletic entertainment. Sugar Dunkerton’s video about Kofi really hit it home when it came to why representation matters with that Ghanaian wrestler being the first (fully) black WWE World Champion. I’m not counting The Rock since he always hypes up is Samoan lineage constantly and only talks about his black side when he does a movie with Kevin Hart, but I digress (and this is coming from a guy who also would be considered biracial!). I know this is an unrelated video, but Dunkerton also made an awesome video with such brutal truth to it. If you’re black, then you will DEFINITELY relate to this video. If you’re not, then consider this a moment of learning and I’m not just talking about how the word “urban” can be a dog whistle term that’s offensive.

Suge D, you kept it so real. This also transitions into my point about how there’s racist crap that still goes on to this day in wrestling. Exhibit A: ACH FKA Jordan Myles. ACH is a black wrestler who made his career in the indies and eventually got signed to NXT (WWE’s developmental system kind of like a AAA minor league feeder promotion to make a sports comparison). He went under the name Jordan Myles and eventually got this T-shirt with his now former WWE moniker in 2019. Weeks after Everything Patterned, this T-shirt would prove Resurgence’s supporters and the wrestlers involved right in realizing why a show like this was needed…

View image on Twitter

DO YOU SEE WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!?

That t-shirt just SCREAMS minstrel show imagery! The fact that they pitched this to a black wrestler by masquerading it in a white and gray design before publishing it in black is maddening. This is the same crap that got Gucci and Prada in trouble in recent years when they tried that with the racist blackface sweater and sambo figurines respectively. ACH blasted them on Twitter and eventually quit working for the WWE. I know that company knows better. While some could argue that ACH could’ve handled the situation better, he had every right to put the WWE on blast for doing such a stupid and bigoted stunt. I applaud him for standing up for himself even when that company shifted the blame onto him for the whole thing. It’s bigotry like this that made me sigh in relief that I never spent a penny on their product. Besides, I don’t even like Raw or Smackdown. I’m not even watching NXT or even NXT UK (Sorry, Eddie) because of this garbage. I’ll save whatever fun money I have on promotions treat their roster with dignity regardless of color/creed/gender/etc. and for various indie wrestlers.

Sorry that this was a strange post given what I usually talk about or the things I create. I wanted to let you know how I was unexpectedly inspired by a UK wrestling show of all things. I actually bought some merch from some of the people in Everything Patterned and not only that, but I even got into fitness far more often as an indirect result. My December goals in exercising have been working so far and I already feel healthier. If you would have asked me years ago that I would make a post like this anywhere on the net, then I would’ve called you insane.

With all that being said, I thought it was amazing seeing someone like me being taken seriously in this field. I’m getting healthier, I’m slowly gaining self-esteem, and my sense of well-being has improved so far. So what if some people would insult me because of this recent interest? This was something inspiring in ways I didn’t even imagine.

Thank you, Wrestling Resurgence and everyone involved with Everything Patterned.

I hope you liked my journey explaining the different facets of my Representation Matters series on the Ospreyshire blog. Thank you for reading this and my other posts on the subject.

All images and videos are of “fair use”.

The Everything Patterned videos are courtesy of Wrestling Resurgence’s YouTube page.

SUGE. Number 3. is property of Sugar Dunkerton’s YouTube page.

The photo of Roy Johnson is from Twitter and is property of Wrestling Resurgence.

The Everything Patterned poster is from Vimeo and is property of Wrestling Resurgence.

The Jordan Myles T-shirt is from Bleacher Report and property of the WWE.

18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands — African Heritage

This was a good news and had to be shared. Enjoy! It is from the BBC. ===== An 18th Century Ethiopian crown will finally be returned home after being hidden in a Dutch flat for 21 years. Ethiopian Sirak Asfaw, who fled to the Netherlands in the late 1970s, discovered the crown in the […]

via 18th Century Ethiopian Crown to be Returned Home from Netherlands — African Heritage

Thank you for sharing this news, Dr. Y.

I needed to hear a positive story given the nonstop depressing things going on here in America. I’m happy that Ethiopia is getting what’s there’s back. It’s a lovely crown and that country getting their diadem back is part of a spree of goodness that’s happened to them like the peace deal with Eritrea, getting a former emperor’s hair back from England, and for setting a new world record for planting trees.

This story made me smile when I was in tears the past few days.

The College Cheating Saga Continues! American and UK-based college/university students pay Kenyans to write their essays. (or, If entitled racist jerks insist Africans have low IQs, then why are they paying them to write essays for them?)

I found out about this story and all I can say is WOW! JUST, WOW!

In addition to the drama going on with Lori Laughlin and company in court with all of this college cheating going on, apparently there was a trend of college students in America and the United Kingdom at large where students have been caught paying Kenyans dirt cheap to write their papers for them. It’s not just undergrads, even graduate and PhD level students have gotten these Kenyans to write full-on theses and dissertations. Apparently, there are essay factories down in that country where these writers work twelve hour shifts while getting paid slave wages to write papers for the Americans and the UK. The latter has a brutal sense of irony when you consider that Kenya was a former British colony. Just saying.

You see, I went to a four year private university to get my Bachelor’s Degree. I got in on my own merits and did everything I could while working two campus jobs and I still graduated on time. I’ll let you in on a little secret during my tenure there. There were students who would fake their way in classes like reading only Cliff Notes or online summaries in the English/Literature courses I took without reading the full books, admitting to cheating in tests in classes I didn’t take with them, and those same people graduated while some are making more money than me. Well pardon me for being an honest student. I’m sorry to have a little thing called integrity to not steal, cheat, or plagiarize compared to those who claimed to have higher IQs than me.

So if I want to expose myself to plagiarized works involving Africa, I can either read some of these paid essays or watch The Lion King. SHOTS FIRED!!!

Seriously, shame on all of those students for plagiarizing their works and shame on that essay factory owner for being a part of this scandal. You wonder why I hate it when people steal and copy from others without crediting people? I bet you money these plagiarists are from far far richer families than mine (okay, I’ve been middle-class for a good portion of my life), and got away with it for years now, and have well-paying careers. Inexcusable! If honesty, integrity, and hard work were merited as much as the media lies to us, then I’d be a millionaire by now.

The video is property of African Diaspora News Channel. That’s more credit than these thieving douchebags will ever give for these paid-for essays.

Belgium “apologizes” to the DRC even if it wasn’t for a reason I expected

As soon as I saw this video from Dr. Mumbi drop, I really really had to talk about it.

Some of you might remember me talking about the sins committed by Belgium to the Democratic Republic of Congo not too long ago. This issue is mentioned again although there was something I legitimately didn’t know about the colonial atrocities. Belgium is saying sorry because that country STOLE biracial Congolese/Belgium babies from the DRC (then known as the Belgian Congo), separated them from their parents, and subjected them in horrific conditions. Not only that, these Belgian poor excuses of fathers who impregnated the Congolese women backed off and didn’t want to be in their children’s lives. Come on, if the races were reversed, Bill O’Reilly would scream “Where are the fathers?!”. So these kids had to grow up bouncing around from orphanage or foster home while their baby daddies didn’t want to own up to what they did (although I really doubt all of those so-called fathers had consensual relationships with the moms given historical patterns).

This was new information for me, but I wasn’t shocked at all. This only made me angrier about everything that happened to the DRC. That country lived through that genocidal maniac King Leopold II who took over the Congo which is 5 times the size of his own home country and his people slaughtered 10 MILLION people and never got punished. Leopold and his regime shot, raped, maimed, and starved out millions and no historical institution is ever calling this a genocide. One form of punishment that he did was to chop off Congolese hands if they were disobedient or couldn’t make quotas for the natural resources. You see that picture in the thumbnail with the chocolate hands? That’s how they got the idea for that demonic dessert and it’s still sold in Belgium to this day! Seriously, Belgium needs to pay big reparations for all the atrocities they committed against the Congolese.

Before any of you say that the people of the DRC should “just move on” or “forgive”, let me ask you something. Are you going to say the same thing to the families of those related to the Holocaust victims/survivors? Are you going to say the same thing to the 9/11 families? If you’re not going to say those things to the families of those afflicted by those tragedies, then you’re a freaking racist hypocrite.

I hope justice happens.

Video courtesy of Dr. Mumbi Seraki.

The Old-Timers are back, BABY!

My friends in the Scottish/South African hardcore band The Old-Timers FINALLY released some new music in the form of a 4 song EP. It’s Short Sharp Shift and it’s 4 short songs and the whole EP is a minute and a half long. I’m glad Dave and Don are making music together again. Big props to ZAP Records to releasing this EP! It’s only $1 to buy. Come on, you can’t even get a song for that same amount of money, so support independent music.

Is the UN pressuring Belgium to pay off for what they did to the DRC?

This is a video I saw a few days ago, but I thought it would be good to share it on here with this blog.

What an interesting turn of events to say the least.

The UN is telling off Belgium to apologize and to pay reparations to the Democratic Republic of Congo. For those of you wondering why the DRC in particular, let me give you a breakdown of what happened. Belgium wanted to be a part of the Scramble for Africa and they managed to colonize what would be the DRC under the reign of King Leopold II. To the Belgians, he was known as “the builder king” as he did so many architecture projects in his home country and many of them are still up to this day. To the Congolese (or anyone with a shred of humanity), Leopold was a genocidal maniac. Him and his forces exploited the country for their natural resources, chopped off hands from those who disobeyed him, starved out and annexed several people like his own personal elephant graveyard where the Africans didn’t belong in his circle of life (I know that comparison was mentioned in an earlier article, but it bears repeating), and killed 10 million Congolese during his reign. Not to mention HE NEVER GOT PUNISHED FOR HIS ACTIONS! Can someone please explain to me why he’s never mentioned in the same sphere of infamy as Hitler, Pol Pot, or Stalin? Seriously, I never learned about this when I was in school.

A little side note about the middle of the video…that was the most satanic thing I have ever seen in my life. A guy dressed up in blackface while pretending to cry as a chocolate cake molded like a pregnant Black woman gets sliced by some attendees at a gala? How sick can you get? Shame on all of those people who did that.

Back to this story at hand, I do hope justice can be done. The DRC was exploited for far too long and I hope that their plight will be taken seriously.

NEVER FORGET!

The video is courtesy of the Dr. Mumbi Show.

Dystopian Futures: Low Arts EP

Last Monday, Dystopian Futures released their brand new EP Low Arts!

This EP is great for those who like creative and innovative music with better musicality or depth than whatever is on Top 40 radio. Dystopian Futures are also releasing this album for free or pay-what-you-want. If you want get some tunes, then feel free to download this album. Please chip in some money to them if you feel so inclined, so they can continue making some quality experimental punk rock. If you download this EP, you’ll also get the music video of the title track as a bonus! Here’s the video for those who haven’t seen it: https://vimeo.com/268278856.

Dystopian Futures Interview from The Antidote

http://www.theantidoteradio.com/interview/interview-with-dystopian-futures

Very recently, Dave Emmerson from Dystopian Futures was interviewed by The Antidote. He had some great insight for his current band. Dave also talks about the weaknesses of social media, rampant narcissism, and sci-fi. Shoot, I didn’t even know he was a fan of Dr. Strangelove. Hahaha! I thought this was a great interview and you should check it out.

Don’t forget that Dystopian Futures’s Low Arts EP comes out on 6/11/18 on http://zaprecords.bandcamp.com.

Check out the Fear EP: https://zaprecords.bandcamp.com/album/zap-033-fear-cs

Don’t forget, Dystopian Futures has a new music video for their Low Arts song. Yes, I worked on it and I threw in some stealth puns. Hee hee hee…