Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Racial Ambiguity and Transcendence
The non-controversy / controversy concerning The Rock’s racial identity played out in interesting fashion via Twitter and Instagram.
It started with The Rock’s old job and his claim to fame WWE. Regardless what my brother and I thought when we were young, wrestling is scripted entertainment. Meaning a team of writers create a story and actors perform that story. Like in many writing rooms, the head writer, director, producer or boss may have the final authority over the story arc. In the case of WWE, owner Vince McMahon has the final say.
With the primary audience of WWE being white folk, to appeal to this base McMahon has only allowed a handful of Black men to claim the World Championship title with The Rock being the first. Many feel The Rock was able to maintain the title for so long because of his racial ambiguity. His ambiguity was not a threat to white audiences but could also appeal to WWE’s Black fans as well. This observation presented itself again with Kofi Kingston…who is unquestionably Black. When it looked like a Kingston was headed to a championship bout, McMahon flipped the script and denied him a shot and Black fans took note. Even though McMahon has flipped again and is now allowing Kingston a shot at the title, it should be noted that McMahon has allowed less than a hand-full of Black champions over the decades.
Since leaving the WWE and becoming a Hollywood international mega star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has ventured into film and television by creating Seven Bucks Productions. One of his first is films with be John Henry and the Statesman for Netflix with Johnson starring in the lead role. Johnson received some backlash due to his skin complexion being that the John Henry character is a darker skinned Black man. Johnson then released trailers on Instagram for his new series on BET Finding Justice. The show “tells the powerful stories of heroes, leaders, advocates and change agents in African-American communities across America as they uncover injustices and fight to bring healing and change.”
Remember those white fans that were cool with Johnson’s racial ambiguity…well some of them lost their shit on his IG feed.
“Really surprised the rock would post something like this. There is no true social injustice, only what the media shows the people. Its 2019 not 1950s, let’s move on.”
“Do you see the hatred and evil you bring out by posting something like this, Ive been a huge fan of yours and have been since your wrestling days , but you fueling a fire with a post like this that’s helping divide this country into a race war. You might have just lost a fan.”
“Hey @therock, how many woke points does this earn you in the Oppression Olympics. Makes sense to do stuff like this because you’ve got like 7 movies coming out this year.”
“These (Black) people need to stop blaming everything for their actions and what puts them in prison. Just saying,”
“@therock WHY are YOU involved in this agenda pushing, fake a** news, racist bulls**t!!!!! Pls tell me it’s not true!!!!!”
“Come on Dwayne, I have been behind you for years ever since the Hulkster passed you the torch. Now your basically spitting in my face with this left wing nonsense,”
In other words, us colored folk, we good as long as we know our place and don’t talk about that racism / white supremacy stuff. The perceptions of WWE’s racial issues and The Rock’s racial identity sparked interesting discussion via Twitter with Johnson surprisingly weighing in.
FYI…this is Dwayne Johnson father, Rocky Johnson.
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