Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the biggest stars in wrestling history. He’s one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. And he just planted himself definitively on the side of Americans peacefully protesting for racial justice.
In the roughly eight-and-a-half minute video he posted on Twitter and Instagram, Johnson issues a call to “normalize equality,” an effort he acknowledges will be a fight. As part of an effort to lift up people already in the fight, Rock’s speech is largely a blistering critique of America’s current leader. He never says Donald Trump’s name, but it’s clear the President is one of the main people he’s addressing when he repeatedly asks, “where are you?”
Rock’s calling on all of us to become leaders, as well. And he may just be planting the seeds for his own political future, something he’s teased on and off over the years.
It will be interesting to see what steps he takes in that direction, and what impact this video has on his current career. A glance at the social media responses clearly demonstrate DJ’s message is not playing well with Trump’s supporters. That’s something a savvy self-promoter like Rocky surely knows. It’s also something he’s clearly decided, as a Black & Samoan American raising three daughters, is a price he’s willing to pay for speaking his mind on the state of the country right now.
Here’s the Twitter version of Johnson’s video, and our transcription of his speech:
“Where are you?
“Where is our leader?
“Where are you?
“Where is our leader, at this time? At this time when our country is down on its knees begging, pleading, hurt, angry, frustrated, in pain, begging and pleading with its arms out, just wanting to be heard. Begging and pleading and praying for change.
“Where are you?
“Where is our compassionate leader who’s going to step up to our country who’s down on its knees, and extend a hand and say, 'You stand up. Stand up with me. Stand up with me - because I got you. I got you. I hear you. I’m listening to you. And you have my word that I’m going to do everything in my power, until my dying day - my last breath - to do everything I can to create the change that’s needed. To normalize equality because Black Lives Matter.'
“Where are you?
“It’s that same compassionate leader who has to come back and re-address the country to give important context, to give important perspective on the comments that were just made. Of course all lives matter. Every single one. All lives matter because we as Americans we believe in inclusivity, we believe in acceptance, we believe in human rights. We believe in equality for all. That’s what we believe in. So of course all lives matter. But in this moment right now, this defining, pivotal, explosive moment, where our country is down on its knees - the floorboards of our country are becoming unhinged in this moment - we must say the words: Black Lives Matter.
“Where are you?
“Where are you? Because - here’s what happens, when you extend a hand, you reach out to Americans who are in pain, and they stand with you. They stand with you, here’s what happens - the entire country stands and rises as well.
“There is a military force that has been deployed on our own people. Looters? Yes. Criminals? Absolutely. But our protestors, who are begging and pleading? Our protestors who are in pain?
“You know, you would be surprised how people in pain would respond when you say to them, ‘I care about you.’ When you say to them, ‘I’m listening to you.’ You’d be surprised how people would respond, how Americans would respond, if you say to them, ‘I care about you, I am listening to you, this is our country, you are all my people, and I take full responsibility, and full accountability for something that has been hundreds of years of systemic disease. Why am I taking full accountability? Because I am your leader. I’m your leader, and I’m gonna do everything I can to make this right. And I’ll tell you what. You give me some trust, give me some time, you give me some effort, you give me some love. I’ll be right there with you and together we’re gonna make this right. Together we’re gonna create that change. Together we’re gonna normalize equality. We’re gonna do it, but we’re gonna do it together.’
“You’d be surprised how Americans, and how human beings would respond. They would rise up with you. We would rise up with you. The world would rise up with you.
“I want to take a moment to - I want to take a moment to thank the world. I want to take a moment right now to thank the world for standing up with us in our fight for equality, to normalize equality. I want to thank all these countries around the world - incredible, inspiring, beautiful displays of solidarity. And I want you to know something. I feel confident speaking on behalf of your American brothers and sisters, us, through our fire, through our smoke, through our debris, through our noise, and everything we’re going through right now, cause there’s a lot happening around us, we’re taking our lumps, but don’t think for a second that we don’t see you. We see you. We see you, we thank you, we love you.
“Look, I - like the majority of Americans, I’m not a politician and I’ve never - clearly - been elected to office. I am not the President of the United States. But I am a man, and I am a father who cares so deeply about my family, about my children and the world that they will live in. I care so deeply about our country and every single person in it. That’s who I am. I am a man who is frustrated, I’m disappointed, and I’m angry. But I’m also doing my best to stay focused and as calm as I can possibly be in the pocket to make the best decisions for my family, and make the best decisions for our country.
“So, as we continue to wait for that leader to emerge. As we continue to wait for that leader to emerge, I recommend to all of you that we must become the leaders we’re looking for. We become our own leaders. Cause we’re doing it now, we’re doing it now. We must become the leaders we are looking for.
“And I’ll ask it one more time - where are you? Where is that compassionate leader who steps up and takes accountability for his country and all of the people in our country. Where are you?
“Because I’ll tell you what - we’re here. We’re all here. We are all here. We’re all here. The process to change has already begun. The process to change has already begun. You can feel it. You can feel it, you can feel it. You can feel it across our country. Change is happening. It’s gonna take time, we’re gonna get beat up, we’re gonna take our lumps. There’s gonna be blood. But the process of change has already begun.
“You guys stay strong. We got this.”