Awesome Kong was recently interviewed by Variety. The interview focused on Season 3 of GLOW, the Netflix drama based on the original female wrestling organization of the same namesake. Kong discussed how difficult it was for her to deal with the vulnerability needed to play her role and the challenge to go from filming wrestling scenes to speaking scenes that required more emotion. Here is what she had to say:
These are things that black women, and black people in general, had to go through in order to gain employment in the entertainment industry. We wanted to illustrate the profoundness and the extremeness of it — how far people had to go to be in the entertainment industry and how far they would go in exploiting their own people to get their foot in the door.
She tells her son that everyone’s offensive — ‘If everybody is doing it, why can’t I do it, too?’ — and I could identify with that because in my first opportunity in wrestling I had to take on the name Amazing Kong. As you know, being black and being Kong is kind of problematic! I had to really weigh the consequences of that. As I was thinking, an N.W.A song came on, and I was like, ‘If Ice Cube and Dr. Dre can be N-word Wit Attitudes, I can be Amazing Kong. I’m going to become so successful that people will hear that name and they’ll have to respect it.’ And I also thought about King Kong Bundy, and how as a white man he was free to be a Kong. I want to have every freedom that every white person has. If that means being free to be a Kong, then I’m going to change the vernacular of what that word means.
I took all of that experience and I applied it to what they wrote for the episode: She’s going to create a character so adored that when they see her they have respect for her. She’s a hardworking woman — she’s the polar opposite of what she’s portraying on screen — so if this is how she’s going to break into the business, she’s going to commit to that and she’s going to take it to the stratosphere.
The very first day of the episode we started with the wrestling and then went straight into the emotional part. Her son witnesses what is a low that contradicts the conversation I’m sure they’ve had about minstrel characters and black pride and how to hold yourself with that pride and how to deal with the double consciousness that all black people have in America. I think when she sees his face she feels shame, this real sense of, ‘Oh I did wrong.’
You can read the full interview HERE