Mark Henry Talks About Racism In WWE, Turning Down A Racist Gimmick Idea

and WWE Hall Of Famer appeared on Huff Post Live recently and spoke about the topic of racism in WWE.

Henry spoke about WWE’s “Silverback” gimmick for him back in 2007, saying “a lot of people remember the Silverback thing. Honestly, I could not do it. I told them: ‘I can’t do that. I got two little black kids at home.'”

Henry defended WWE in terms of being a racist company, basically saying that the company and its’ writers have no racist tendencies towards their talent. “Black culture, we dance and sing. We’re entertainers,” said Henry. “James Brown said it best: the things we are make people want to be like us.”

Check out the complete appearance at HuffingtonPost.com.

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    • JoeyRay78

      Love Wrestling, love Mark Henry ever since back in the um Nation of Domination thing and as “Sexual Chocolate.” Totally forgot about the “Silverback” gimmick not to be confused with that white guy that beat the crap out of Kimbo Slice, Seth “The Silverback” Petruzelli. Bot much of an article here, I thought there would be more to it.

      • http://www.rabidpictures.com yrabadi

        I don’t remember this silverback thing at all… was this really early on? Am I just forgetting it?

        • JoeyRay78

          I really don’t remember it as well. It might’ve been an idea that WWE was pondering then proposed it told Mark Henry but then the idea died before it made it to the public.

          • https://twitter.com/StrangeDeranged Pozessed

            Nah, it was a gimmick but it weren’t major.. I recall it was during his Smackdown days, his nickname was “The silverback” for his strength etc, since in reality gorillas can rip people limb from limb.. But I think it also stretched to him like beating his chest etc, it could have been looked upon as de-humanising the black male.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXf6lfkZU8c

            It was giving him primal, animalistic traits.

            Here is an article about it http://pwtorch.com/artman2/publish/mitchellstake/article_79661.shtml

            • Deez

              Props Pozessed “…it could have been looked upon as de-humanising the black male.” <— This

            • Jamie

              In that case, Sheamus being a Great White is dehumanising.

            • Kevin G. Wolfe

              From some with Irish descent who has been ridiculed for how white he is, I liked it.

            • https://twitter.com/StrangeDeranged Pozessed

              The difference is included in what Aperture said below.. “In the past (slavery and civil rights), black men and women used to be called “monkeys” or “gorillas” due to their lip size and skin color supposedly being the closest thing to that of the animals that they were named after. Racist articles would feature monkeys or gorillas representing a black man or woman and vice versa. It is the same as Jews being depicted as raccoons or goblins in German articles or propaganda during the Holocaust.”

              Lol, the only time ‘Great White’ has been used for white people is probably by white people themselves in the state of promoting their ‘power’ over other races.

            • WTF

              Many could’ve found it racist, but this gimmick could’ve made Henry look like a monster, i mean imagine if he had the WWE Title, who would step up and fight him. But i guess thats why he changed it to the Hall Of Pain gimmick

            • I’ve Lost My Smile

              Yeah watching it now I find it offensive.

            • https://twitter.com/StrangeDeranged Pozessed

              It is one of those things where there are quite a few different perceptions of it, so it is better that he had the hall of pain gimmick, the silverback would have perhaps been more suitable if it weren’t actually a silverback gorilla, but more of just an animal, like a lion is king of the jungle etc.

            • number1bigdaddy

              OK REDSKIN KEEP TALKING

            • Ha

              Washington Redskins Fool

            • The One, The Only, The Ellis!

              A racist complaining about racism! You’re hysterical!

        • blankman

          It was during the ecw era

          • http://www.rabidpictures.com yrabadi

            Yeah I’m googling it a bit – thanks! Really don’t remember it, but maybe that’s because I didn’t watch the WWE-ECW all that often.

            • blankman

              This was his custom belt.

            • http://www.rabidpictures.com yrabadi

              That actually doesn’t look half bad…

        • Deez

          You don’t remember when He stood on top of the steel cage and beat his chest like King Kong? EcW era but he was on Smackdown Teddy Long was his Manager

          • http://www.rabidpictures.com yrabadi

            Hmmm… I remember him coming out with Long and going up against Goldberg a few times… but no, don’t remember the King Kong moment you speak of… I guess I wasn’t really a Henry guy back then…

      • Jose Mourinho

        The thing I liked about him was his fake retirement speech as far as I remember.

        • I’ve Lost My Smile

          Would have been awesome if they had him beat Cena after he lost that match he was pushed back down the card.

          • gdaddy1971

            I honestly think that their reasoning behind not pushing Henry is the same as their reasoning for not pushing Ziggler. They are afraid of the two getting hurt to often.

        • JoeyRay78

          My fav Henry moment is when he would recite his poetry to Chyna. Hands down the best.

          • http://youjizz.com/ Jomo

            Mark Henry ans Chyna in a x x x movie would be epic

        • JoeyRay78

          The best was when Henry would recite his poetry to Chyna.

    • raVen

      I dunno what problem he had with the silverback gimmick. the dude is a gorilla..he’s a giant extremely strong animal. It’s not about skin color it’s about mentality…but of course the simple masses will see it as racist.

      • Aperture

        In the past (slavery and civil rights), black men and women used to be called “monkeys” or “gorillas” due to their lip size and skin color supposedly being the closest thing to that of the animals that they were named after. Racist articles would feature monkeys or gorillas representing a black man or woman and vice versa. It is the same as Jews being depicted as raccoons or goblins in German articles or propaganda during the Holocaust.

        It is pretty obvious why Mark Henry shot that idea down. He didn’t want to be purposely or accidentally portrayed as a animal that his ancestors were named after. Sometimes, it won’t hurt to pay attention in history class.

        • REALITY

          Sometimes it wouldn’t hurt you not to disrespect someone because of their comment.

        • I’ve Lost My Smile

          Thank you for this.

        • Jamie

          Doesn’t change the fact that he looks like a gorilla.

        • https://twitter.com/StrangeDeranged Pozessed

          Nailed it there.

        • inyo

          I’m with Raven. Him looking like a gorilla has nothing to do with his skin color. Brock Lesnar is white, and I would say the same about him. It’s about body type, not skin color. Ryback also fits this category.

          As long as everyone keeps holding onto historical grudges, no one will ever move on from this sh!t. It’s why we see someone like the innocent Dancing with the Stars girl get trashed for the black face thing. She was just a naive girl honoring a tv character she loved, but because of things from the past that she had no part in, people went after her.

          • Aperture

            I disagree. I believe that historical events of that magnitude should be remembered, but never mocked or lessened. It would be like mocking the Holocaust to Jews or mocking Americans about 9/11. Some things cannot be so easily dropped. It is easily to move on from something that doesn’t affect you or had anything to do with you, but slavery (even though not in the context that it was long ago) still resumes to this day.

            • inyo

              First of all, you don’t know me. Trust me, I come from people that weren’t treated very well.

              Secondly, whose talking about mocking anything? The specific things being discussed, those being the term “gorilla” not being specific to race, and the black face thing I mentioned, are not about mocking history. I’m saying we should use context to decide what someone’s intentions are, not automatically label everyone as guilty of being a racist. Again, Lesnar looks like a gorilla same as Henry.

              People like you who make everything about race are as much the problem as actual racists.

            • Ayatollah of rock N rolla

              Lol you got defensive quick. He didn’t make anything about race, Henry himself (a black male) viewed it as racist, shouldn’t that be enough for you to not be ignorant and accept it?

            • inyo

              It sucks when people try to debate stuff and they have no idea of what the person they are debating is saying.

              One, I didn’t get defensive. Just pointed out that this person, who is suggesting my opinion isn’t valid because I haven’t been affected by racism, doesn’t know me well enough to say that.

              Two, just because someone says something is racist, does that make it so? Plus, the point I was making is that some people take a point someone makes about how the term gorilla is more about body type than skin color, which is true, and turn that into a debate about black history and slavery.

              Not sure how anything I said is ignorant. I get that throwing around certain terms to certain races or ethnic groups can be offensive, but in this case, it doesn’t seem the word gorilla was meant that way. I’ve heard Joe Rogan call Lesnar a gorilla many times.

            • Ayatollah of rock N rolla

              Unless you’re a black person, you cant say something isnt offensive. If Joe Rogan calls a white guy a term that blacks may find offensive, why would a white guy be offended? it hasn’t de-humanized his people

            • inyo

              You still don’t get it. The point is that the word isn’t being used about skin color, it’s about body type. Calling Xavier Woods a monkey or gorilla is racist. Calling Mark Henry a monkey is racist. In this situation, calling Henry a gorilla is not about race. Is it really that hard to understand? The fact that people immediately think about race is a kind of racism in itself. “Oh that person said gorilla, that is obviously about race.”

              Does anyone honestly think Vince McMahon is that naive and ignorant that he would use the word gorilla in an offensive manner? Again, my entire point is about using context and judging each situation separately, not just assume every situation is the same.

            • Ayatollah of rock N rolla

              Vince has called booker T the N word on TV… dont question how naive he can be. You don’t get it, MARK HENRY found it offensive. If you’re not black, you cant relate. I personally dont see why it is offensive but i can respect his view on the matter.

            • inyo

              Fair enough. I was more talking about how the word is used in general, and what it means. I respect that it offended him personally, but that doesn’t mean everyone feels the same as he does.

            • G.I.R.L.

              Just wanted to acknowledge that I feel you’re one of the best posters on here.

              Cheers!

            • Aperture

              Thank you.

            • Guest

              q

        • The One, The Only, The Ellis!

          What’s your opinion regarding white racism today? There’s so much racism against whites now and it making me upset! I still love my minority friends though.

    • TNA Live Crowd

      I liked The Silverback. I would’ve taken it as a compliment since Silverbacks are strong as all hell and straight intimidating. It’s not like he had to run around in a gorilla costume.

      • I’ve Lost My Smile

        and how do you know they would not have? They had a guy be a rooster a goobely gooker, and as we live and breathe there is a guy dressed as a bunny.

        • TNA Live Crowd

          Are the turkey and Peter Cottontail big name wrestlers? It’s not like Jericho or Austin were in those costumes

          • Ayatollah of rock N rolla

            Look at damien Sandow… went from MITB winner to whatever he is now….

    • http://www.Twitter.com/Daniell02242471 Mrs. Ambrose #MNW

      I don’t blame Mark Henry but I believe that there us racism in WWE.

    • Merve the Swerve

      But Vince is a rich Republican, they love black peopl…..oh,never mind.

      • The One, The Only, The Ellis!

        Republicans majority voted for the Civil Rights act, so republicans are not racist, unlike the democrates, who created the KKK!!

        • Merve the Swerve

          Sure kid. Whatever you say.

          • JP_West

            Actually Aubry is correct. Back in the early days of our country’s two party system the Republican party supported equality while the Democrats opposed it. They even supported the early kkk. But when the kkk turned violent they started to distance themselves. But it was not until the 60′ did Democrats switch the script and suddenly “support” minorities. There is allot more to it but I will leave that up to you to read up on the full details of American political history and racism since this is a wrestling site and not a political one.

          • Yankee Hater

            Lets also not forget the most hateful Republican of them all, Abe Lincoln. George Wallace was actually a Democrat as well. The irony is you assuming that all rich republicans are all racist really makes your comment the only bigoted statement on this subject.

            • The One, The Only, The Ellis!

              Liberals are now trying to say that Abe Lincoln, that Republican “racist”, would had been a Democrat in today’s time, which is RIDICULOUS! They need to accept their failure and not try to claim the great Republican American history! This pisses me off so freaking much!

            • Yankee Hater

              I also enjoy how Liberals claim that in the 70s republicans became democrats and vice versa. But if you ask them if that makes JFK a republican today…

        • Merve the Swerve

          1. It was a one-liner. A joke. A Ha-Ha
          2. Debating politics on a wrestling site is dumb.
          3. I was referring to modern day republicans which does not even come close to resembling the Republican party of a hundred years ago.
          4. Not all republicans are backwards thinking, racist, poor people hating, uneducated, delusional, bible thumping morons… but if you are a backwards thinking, racist, poor people hating, uneducated, delusional, bible thumping moron you’re most likely a republican.

    • number1bigdaddy

      that’s a LIE LIE LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WWE DO NOT PUSH THERE BLACK ACTORS

      • BrayWyattsFedora

        The Rock is one of the most pushed wrestlers of all time. Outside of him I can only think of booker t….lashley….and Henry that have held heavyweight belts

        • Gotstodobetter

          The Rock is not black lol

          • Progressed_Now

            he’s 50% black, 50% Samoan.

            you REALLY gotstodobetter

            • The One, The Only, The Ellis!

              To be fair, he does look pretty much like a full-blooded Somaon, but you’re right.

    • number1bigdaddy

      WWE IS THE MOST racist company EVER …………

      • Common Sense

        Most?? damn your an idiot

      • The One, The Only, The Ellis!

        Ridiculous!

    • number1bigdaddy

      SOMEBODY CALL MY MOMMA IS VINCE LITTLE BLACK JOKE

    • The One, The Only, The Ellis!

      Mark Henry had no problem joining the all-black “Nation of Domination”, which was pro black power and racist against whites, you obese hypocrite!

    • inyo

      I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of opinions about this topic. My main thing is, Booker T and Henry should definitely have had runs with the title. I’m hearing different things about how big of stars they were, but not everyone who has held that title was a huge star.

      Take a look at some of the guys who have held that title. They weren’t all huge stars. Just in recent years you have guys like Miz and Del Rio. Del Rio held the freaking thing twice. Sheamus, Rey, Eddie, JBL. None of these guys were so huge that they deserved runs more than Booker or Mark.

      They had a couple awesome chances in which Henry should have had a run. I was listening to The Masked Man on the Cheap Heat podcast. He seemed to be defending WWE, and all his points were easily shot down. My favorite was when he brought up about the way Henry looked being why Vince may not want the title on him, to which someone quickly brought up Mick Foley.

      It does seem like any time a black wrestler would get close, they would be quickly brought down a notch.

      • sideshowRaheem

        Heard that same podcast and the Foley/Henry comparison is not 1 to 1. Mick Foley was champ in an era were WWE was low on talent, he would have never been champ in the 70’s, 80’s or early 2000’s or today. Foley got the strap due to Vince’s lack of options. And like Rosenberg said in the podcast Henry was never champ because he’s injury prone.

        • inyo

          So the Attitude Era had fewer stars than they had over the past decade, when guys like Del Rio, Sheamus, and Miz have been champ. You think guys like Edge, JBL, Rey, and Jeff Hardy, could have been champ in Attitude Era? Except for the mid 90’s, I don’t think wrestling has ever had as few huge stars as it had in the Cena era. And the Foley comp is a good one because they were specifically talking about looks. Foley held the title when there were much bigger stars around than when Henry should have gotten runs.

    • jc

      Best mark henry moment is when you f**ked that gilf mae young and gave her a bouncing baby hand

    • Buzzard Follower

      THATS WHAT HE DO

    • brad

      Henry’s the man, he always seen like a cool dude.