Titus O'Neil On If He's Adjusted To Being A Manager, What Drives Him, Entertainment Relying Too Much On Stereotypes - Wrestlezone

Titus O’Neil On If He’s Adjusted To Being A Manager, What Drives Him, Entertainment Relying Too Much On Stereotypes

Bill Pritchard
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Titus O’Neil recently spoke with Bill Hanstock and Brandon Stroud for Uproxx; you can read a few highlights below, and the full interview is featured on Episode 4 of the With Spandex podcast:

Titus O’Neil on if he’s gotten used to being in a managerial role after being an in-ring competitor: 

No, I mean I’m not, I don’t even know about you considering me as a manager. You know, I’m more like trying to just lead a stable, because eventually I am going to return to the ring in the right situation. But right now, I’m having a lot of fun helping other people have a lot of fun. I feel like Apollo has definitely benefited from the aspect of being able to show more of his personality, as well as Tozawa, and they both have tremendous in-ring talent. It’s just a matter of helping show their personalities more, because as you know, everybody knows in entertainment characters sell. You can be the best wrestler in the world, the best singer in the world, but if you can’t perform and have personality and character to you as an individual, then a lot of times there’s just a disconnect.

Titus comments on what drives him to be a better person: 

What drives me is giving people an opportunity to be better off after they meet me than they were before they meet me. The reason that I feel so strong about doing that is because my story is one in itself, and my mom, like I said in the TED Talk, was my first domino. If people hadn’t invested in me when they had nothing to gain in return, I could not have achieved any level of success, whether it had been in high school, college, or professionally. I feel like I want to be that domino, that one person that walks by somebody and says hello when everybody else just looks past them; or that person that says yes when everybody else has told them no; or one person who encourages somebody and say “Yes you can” when everybody else is telling them what they can’t do.

A lot of my community efforts are not based on one sole cause. If you follow me, you know I believe in education. I believe in trying to find a cure for cancer, whether it be pediatric or breast cancer or prostate, because I’ve lost family members and friends to it. I believe in trying to get people that are within the justice system placed in the right light; that’s why I do a lot of stuff with law enforcement, because law enforcement helped save my life. There’s not really one aspect of what I do, from the standpoint of humanitarian efforts, you could say, “You know that guy, that’s what he does.” People call me all the time and try to do things. I’m only one person, but if I can motivate five people to go out and try to save somebody’s life, then that five multiplies, and then so on and so forth. I feel like I’ve done my job of trying to make this world a better place.

Titus comments on how wrestling and entertainment plays too much on stereotypes, but says it’s gotten better: 

I think entertainment as a whole plays strongly on — too strongly on stereotypes in some cases, not just in professional wrestling. You have stereotypical characters that play stereotypical roles in television shows, and I’m very happy to see that there are more people that are very creative, that have gone outside of the box and played characters that have nothing to do with “stereotypical” culture that they come from, or their background. There are directors out there, and producers out there, that are now putting better content, better movies, better TV characters. The world is changing, so we all have to change with that world. Again, if it’s in the fabric of the country, then why wouldn’t it be portrayed on film any differently?

I think it’s gotten better; there have definitely been more opportunities for minorities in film, both behind the camera and on screen. But at the end of the day, there has to be, I think in order for certain things to have a genuine feel to it, it has to be some stereotypical aspects to it in order for people to kinda connect the dots, because that’s what they’re accustomed to seeing. So when you see different characters that are outside of what people are normally seeing, then it’s like, “Oh wow, that was really amazing.”

But let’s not lose track of the fact that there’s been at least four or five movies that have come out over the past two years that accurately portray, or told stories that were untold, like Selma, or Hidden Figures, or even recently here, Detroit or The Birth of a Nation. There are so many movies out there that show the depictions of, and that’s only captured in two hours, that’s only what they tell. They can only tell so much in a two- or three-hour period.

I do think in professional wrestling that we’ve done a lot better with portraying characters and letting people be kind of more of themselves. Again, I think that it’s just like any other entertainment aspect, there will always be some type of stereotypical role or character played. just because that’s in the fabric of entertainment, it’s in the fabric of our culture.

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