Dwayne Johnson announced that he has a new gig and the reaction probably wasn’t what he expected.
On Instagram, The Rock posted a short clip for “John Henry and the Statesmen,” to air on Netflix “soon.”
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WHEN THE MAN COMES AROUND. Inspired to bring to life one of my childhood heroes, John Henry, in JOHN HENRY & THE STATESMEN. In this movie, I’ll lead an ensemble of the most popular folklore figures and legends from different cultures around the world. @NETFLIX is the perfect partner & platform to bring these global folklore icons to life. The NETFLIX brand speaks directly to our @sevenbucksprod ethos of being bold, ambitious and game changing – and most importantly, always thinking “Audience first” in homes all around the world. The legend of 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. At bedtime most children get loving nursery rhyme songs — I got this/ Every mornin’ at the mine, you could see him arrive. He stood 6 foot 6 and weighed 245. Kind of broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip. And everybody knew you didn’t give no lip to Big John. Big John. Big Bad John. Directing this big ol’ tentpole is the talented and passionate, Jake Kasdan. Jake and I found nice success together in a little movie called, JUMANJI. Gonna be a lot of fun bringing these legends to life. My childhood hero. The steel driving man and his disruptive band of international folklore legends. JOHN HENRY & THE STATESMEN @sevenbucksprod @danygarciaco @hhgarcia41 @flynnpictureco @NETFLIX
Johnson said he was “inspired to bring to life one of my childhood heroes,” and will lead an ensemble of the most popular folklore figures and legends from different cultures around the world.
“The legend of 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. At bedtime most children get loving nursery rhyme songs — I got this.”
Henry was an African American folk hero. He is said to have worked as a “steel-driving man”—a 19th century man who died with a hammer in his hand constructing a railroad tunnel.
Johnson, who is half black (mom is Samoan), is now facing backlash that he’s not “dark skinned” enough to take on the role of the former slave. In past films, African American actors have played the character such as Danny Glover and Roger Aaron Brown.
For example, one Twitter user @jheusner30 wrote: “I hope this movie [tanks] and I will spread as much negative feedback as possible for this.”
@TheRock I hope this movie thanks and I will spread as much negative feedback as possible for this. Dwayne repay black culture only when it benefits him. John Henry was dark skinned
— James Brown (@jheusner30) October 11, 2018
There were some people in his corner, “Wrote @ukmossbb17, “How can people say someone isn’t black enough? That’s as racist as anything else. Annie was rewrote as a black girl, Dwayne played Hercules who wasn’t black and now he is a black man playing a black role and that’s not good enough. Come on enjoy the show and the fact that he will bring the story to light for everyone.”