Dwayne Johnson‘s latest movie role has some people giving the former wrestling star the side-eye. He will be playing Black folklore legend John Henry, a steel driver in 1870 who raced against a steam machine and won, but died in the process. Some are saying Johnson is not Black enough to play the character and that he does not identify as Black.
Johnson announced on Instagram that he will play Henry in upcoming Netflix film John Henry & The Statesmen, for which he will also serve as a producer. He wrote in the caption,”Inspired to bring to life one of my childhood heroes. … In this movie, I’ll lead an ensemble of the most popular folklore figures and legends from different cultures around the world.” He continued that John Henry’s “strength, endurance, dignity and cultural pride was instilled in my DNA at a very young age. My dad would sing ‘Big John’ to me every time he would put me to bed.”
See the brief teaser below:
Johnson’s father is a Black Canadian and his mother is Samoan. See some of the reactions to the actor Johnson playing John Henry below.