On August 10th, 2020 reports came out that James “Kamala: The Ugandan Giant” Harris, the WWE wrestling star had died from COVID-19. When #RIPKamala trended on Twitter, people assumed the hashtag was in reference to Kamala Harris, the US Senator and potential running mate for Joe Biden. The very next day, Uncle Joe confirmed he had selected the Black female US Senator as his Vice-President nominee. Coincidences are just God reminding you, He created Dave Chappelle!
Both Kamalas have excelled at the top of their respective games. Yet both have been victims of America’s favor of white mediocrity over Black excellence.
James Harris was born to very meagar means, but through a series of encounters entered the wrestling world in Benton Harbor, Michigan under famous Black wrestler Bobo Brazil. He was brought into the WCW, in 1983, and at the behest of Jerry “The King” Lawler his character, Kamala The Ugandan Giant, a play off of Idi Amin and tribal Africans was born. The character played well in the racist South where wrestling was most popular, and where the mediocre dwell. As a result, Kamala grew in popularity, moving in to the bigger broadcast at WWE, and ongoing battles with superstars like Hulk Hogan, Jake “The Snake ” Roberts, Macho Man, and Andre “The Giant”… names you likely know whether you were ever into wrestling or not. Unlike many of the larger wrestlers, Harris was more agile and flexible, and could put on a show. He was actually athletic, and provided the movement and charisma in most of his matches against the superstar wrestlers. However well into his career, he was never paid as much as the White wrestlers, despite his popularity. Harris remembers being paid only $13,000 for a match The Undertaker was paid $500,000 for, well into his career. He was a wrestling great, who suffered from racism and the justification of it based on how profitable his character was to the company.
Kamala Harris is an alum of Howard University, graduate of the University of California-Hastings with a juris doctorate. She’s a lawyer, former district attorney of San Francisco, the Attorney General of the largest state of the union, a US Senator for ten years, and a former Democratic nominee for President. Yet, like the wrestler, she’s portrayed as an equally savage prison warden because of her work as a district attorney. Minutes after her announcement, Twitter erupted in misogynoir, talking about her inability to lead, her prosecutorial record as a DA, and spouting all the right wing media nonsense we have come to accept as gospel, instead of doing our own research. I don’t have time for a history lesson, but I can assure you of this…
Kamala Harris is an educated force of nature in an upcoming battle where she is the only warrior. Her running mate, although our best and only choice, is an old mediocre White man who America picked over excellent women and people of color, including Harris. Her opponents are two very mediocre White males, one a conservative talking head and the other, the spawn of evil who has locked up children in cages, allowed Black women to be abused and mistreated at his rally’s and applauded it, surrounded himself with a circus of wild and wacky Black people to prove he likes “the Blacks”, and told four Congresswomen of Black or Muslim heritage to go back where they came from, despite three of them being born US citizens and one of them being a naturalized citizen. In this ring, she is the only person who can go the full round without needing a medic and the only person who continues to prove she belongs in the upper ranks of government.
The biggest discussion during the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates will be the handling of this pandemic by the Republican administration, and its failure to save American lives by issuing a national policy to curb the spread of COVID and race. As sad as James “Kamala” Harris’s death is, it’s fate that the next day a Black woman with the same name would be in the running to break the ceiling on another first for Black Americans. Black Lives truly do Matter. She has a unique opportunity to wipe the mat with Trump and Pence, to not only expose them for the racists and public health piranas that they are, but to soak up Kamala The Ugandan Giant’s blood, sweat, and tears in honor of every Black person who has persevered through racism to bust through those ceilings. Just when we begin to wonder if our living is in vain, the universe yells out to us, “No, of course not!”
Like Kamala the wrestler had to don a costume that certainly was offensive to Black people, he also had a job to do and a character to play in the wrestling production. Similarly, Kamala the district attorney had to abide by policies and laws made by the government of California that continued to put Black men in prison, she too had a job to do and a character to play in the government’s production. Neither entertainers or politicians are at liberty to make their own rules up, they have to follow the producer’s rules and the government’s laws… if they want the job. But they must get the job to reckon with and expose its evils. We expect Black politicians to represent Black people, when in fact, their jobs are to represent the people who elect them. Instead, we should expect all politicians to be excellent leaders dedicated to freedom for all people, and against marginalizing people to keep them from success and realizing their true potential. Black people have had to sacrifice to get success despite being excellent. It’s time for America to take on excellence as the standard and discard this notion that Black people have to be 10x better to get 10% of the spoils of white mediocrity. After all, you can’t be truly free and truly brave AND mediocre.
Now grab your war paint and get in your wide legged stance, because we need to go win this thing. Ya heard.