There has been a longstanding debate over the ethnicity of former EBONY cover star and pro-wrestler-turned-acting sensation Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. On Tuesday, he chimed in the middle of a Twitter debate setting the record straight about self identifying as Black and Samoan.
The conversation began as WWE fans criticized the programming where CEO and Chairman Vince McMahon intentionally sabotaged WWE superstar Kofi Kingston’s SmackDown Live performance because he’s Black. On the show, Kingston successfully defeated four opponents Tuesday night to earn a spot at their biggest event of the year, WrestleMania. After coming out victorious, McMahon ordered him to fight current champion Daniel Bryan. Unfortunately, he lost.
WWE supporters took to Twitter questioning McMahon’s motives.
“This is a very believable storyline, in that it features Vince McMahon going to extraordinary lengths to stop a black man becoming champion,” one Twitter user said. Another wrote, "Ever heard of @TheRock?”
Things began to heat up as another commenters began to argue over what ethnicity Johnson identifies as.
He jumped into the growing conversation clearing up his race for once and for all. “Glad I came across this and I’ll give you guys some context & truth. I identify as exactly what I am - both. Equally proud. Black/Samoan,” Johnson wrote.
Hitting back at claims of being “booked” as a racially ambiguous, he added, “And my friend, let me expand your thoughts a bit here - I transcended race in wrestling so there was no “booked that way”. Thx guys.”
His response eased the minds of the social media users who conceded, “Not gonna lie, when I made a facetious joke about how Smackdown ended, this was absolutely not how I saw it playing out,” the thread’s initiator wrote.
Another one said, “Welp, guess that settles that."
No stranger to talking about race, Johnson faced backlash after reports of him starring as Black folklore legend John Henry in Netflix's John Henry and The Statesmen surfaced in October 2018.
He addressed the importance of roles highlighting characters like John Henry. "These diverse characters speak to a legacy of storytelling that is more relevant than ever and span across a worldwide audience regardless of age, gender, race, or geography," Johnson said to Variety.
During his stint in the WWE, Johnson was a member of The Nation of Domination (N.O.D.). Founded in 1996, N.O.D was inspired by the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, N.O.D. They "saluted with fists in the air, swearing to get the job done by any means necessary," reports The Sportster.