Kofi Kingston was heralded by many as the first Black WWE Champion when he won the title from Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35.
Mark Henry and Booker T held the WWE World Title for their respective reigns and The Rock is half-Samoan, so some don't always classify him as being "the first Black WWE Champion." Kofi Kingston doesn't see it that way.
"It's silly that people try to not count The Rock in that category because regardless of what you look like, you are what you are. He's black. Whether he's half-black, he's black," said Kofi on Table Talk.
The Rock commented on the subject in March 2019, saying he identifies as Black and Samoan, equally proud, and that he transcended race in wrestling. You can see his full comments by clicking here.
Kofi continued by saying, "I take a lot of pride in that sentiment (of being the first African American born WWE Champion). For a long time, people of color, especially African Americans have been waiting for someone who likes exactly like them to hold that title. On Twitter and social media, the moment it happened, I got so many messages and tears. The video of MVP and Shad [Gaspard] crying -- [MVP] doesn't like when I bring that up, that he cries, because he wants to be a tough guy -- what's important to me is to be able to inspire people to go out and do great things. Winning championships is cool, when I was a kid, that's what I wanted to do. The more seasons I've become, the more I realize it's all about paying it forward and being able to motivate people to follow their dreams. For me to be someone that young African Americans can look to and say 'anything is possible because I saw it happen' is a big difference than saying 'anything is possible' in theory. There were so many people who never thought they'd see the day when someone who looked like them got to be WWE Champion, and it did. When you think about where we were in wrestling 100 years ago or even 50 years ago, you just didn't see African American people in positions of championship or substance. Last month, the majority of the champions were African American. We've come a long way as a society to be in this position. We take a lot of pride in that."
Kofi held the title from WrestleMania 35 to the SmackDown premiere on FOX in October 2019 where he lost to Brock Lesnar.
Kingston is currently sidelined for at least six weeks, which has led to a singles run for Big E.
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