Malakai Black says he drew inspiration from ‘disturbing’ and ‘cult-like’ childhood for his AEW character

Malakai Black has been praised for the power of his character work, as is his talent in the ring. The most moving performers in this art form often draw inspiration from their own experiences. Black’s cult, mysterious character in All Elite Wrestling is no exception.

He first patched it as Tommy End on a standalone circuit. The cult-like character became Aleister Black in WWE NXT. In AEW, Black portrayed a more ominous, borderline supernatural iteration of Tommy End.

“I’m into tattoo culture. I’m very into the alternative music scene. It’s mostly black metal and hardcore,” Blake told CBS Sports. “I’m fascinated by the occult because I grew up in a certain family where there were some really disturbing and interesting things. So I know how to live out these cult-like characters because I grew up with it I understand that. It’s part of where I can put myself in these roles. Within a year, within two years, it starts to take off. It has to contain your own essence.

“I do think that as you get older, you start to learn more about yourself. Especially your past traumas. You start to acknowledge them and start to get over them. When you get over them, you can learn from them. You know them. Not against you. They work with you…the older you are, the more you know yourself.

Check out the full interview with Malakai Black below.

Blake was hesitant to extend his childhood. He wanted to make it clear that many of the people involved in his early life struggled to grow. For Blake, it’s important to note that opening up on the subject may affect others who are making strides in their own lives.

“Obviously, it’s something that’s been asked more, but the problem is that a lot of these people are still alive, and a lot of them have changed their ways. So I’m reluctant to talk about it,” Black said. “I don’t want their hard work to be slapped in the face because I feel compelled to be on a platform to talk about it. These people are working really hard to not be in that position.”

After some consideration, Blake talked about how various aspects of his family life influenced his interests and the characters he portrayed.

“Part of my family grew up in an uncommon religion, a very ‘doomsday’ religion,” Black said. “It was a very apocalyptic, you were on this earth, so you were A sinner. It doesn’t matter what you do. You are sent to earth and you sweat and toil. There is no love. There are no feelings, there is nothing but you [and] God works for your redemption. And, hopefully, at the end of that redemption, at the end of your life, you’ve redeemed yourself so much that you’ve earned a place in heaven.

“The ’50s, ’60s and ’70s were a pivotal time for a lot of people when the world started to change and open minds. New ideas would come. A lot of my family was very ambivalent about this ideology. A negative way, in a way they want to escape from it. So they do, but it does affect their personality and the way they perceive the world, because they don’t get it, because they are affected by it Sheltered for a long time … that religion, even at that time, had a cult-like streak. A lot of what happened in that church is very questionable.”

His family’s connection to that religion had a profound effect on shaping them.

“It really had an impact on my childhood because obviously the people who raised me were either still connected to these religions or they were influenced by those religions,” Black said. “I don’t want to use the word brainwashing, but I want to use the word lost. Brainwashing is a very heavy way, but if you don’t know something better than what you saw as a kid, then it’s hard to get out of what you’ve been through That formulaic indoctrination. Going deep into the history of that family, going deep into all these people, going deep into a lot of religions because it’s just a small branch and I think there’s only 100,000 people paying attention to it right now. It’s bleak. It makes me Really understand what these people think and how they see the world.

“I basically just took it and I kind of took a bunch of stuff I witnessed as a kid, and the stories I heard, and shaped it into the Tommy End that started out in the first place. And because of that, I started reading On the esoteric topic. I started to have a strong interest in the occult because in a weird twisted way they kind of hold hands because one is so desolate, I mean, to me, it’s almost like A sympathetic lifestyle. They’re very anti-anything else. So I started getting obsessed with other things. What are you against? And then kind of like slowly but surely you dive into these things. I just find it interesting that there are world There are so many religious systems, what is considered good and what looks bad. Why is it bad? I’m just kind of stuck in it. I always find it interesting.

Blake’s fascination with the occult was further influenced by his grandfather, who is said to have had his own experience with the dark arts.

“My grandfather on my mother’s side was actually a very devout Roman Catholic, but he was sent to Malaysia [when] He was 17, 18. He was just a kid from a church and then he was thrown into this society after World War II,” Black said. “He was subject to a different religion, a different type of religious system, a different type of people because he only saw him from Dutch town.

“He was in this completely different side of the world in the late ’40s and everything seemed different. He saw a lot of things that made him not question his religious beliefs, but it made him understand that there was more to showing the world than just It’s what happened in church, what parents saw with their own eyes, or what happened on the street.”

Black tells the story of a black magic act that his grandfather allegedly witnessed in a Malaysian village.

“It also had a big impact on me because my grandfather would tell me incredible stories – it might sound weird – but he would tell me about what he witnessed in Malaysia using black magic. stories,” Black said. “They used a form of voodoo called guna guna. He was involved because he saw this happening around the camp. Things were strung together, the soldiers were sick, they Not finding what was going on, the villagers were like, ‘Oh, he’s suffering from this witchcraft. That piqued my interest as well.

“Growing up as a kid, I was exposed to a lot of things that might be weird, but it really made my mind question everything and see the world in a different way than a lot of kids. In a sense, it Made for a very interesting childhood, “You know what I mean? A lot of difficult moments, a lot of love growing up, very very very difficult, often very disjointed. When it comes to that stuff, this is definitely not your ordinary childhood. “

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