Athlete, actor, activist, father and role model — those are just a few words to describe Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, so it’s no surprise he took home the Generation Award at the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards on Monday, June 17.
The Rampage actor, 47, delivered a powerful speech about inclusion and his road to success.
“I want to say thank you to MTV for this awesome, you know, really incredible prestigious award. I also want to thank my family at home, my girls. I got a house full of strong-ass women at home!” Johnson said. “Of course, thank you to my team, my business partners, but mainly I want to thank the ones who make this whole thing happen. I want to thank you, the people, the fans. I thank you. All of you at home. You are the reason I’m getting this, so I want to share a really quick lesson with you guys that I’ve learned over the years.”
He added: “When I first got to Hollywood, Hollywood, they didn’t know what the hell to do with me. I mean, I was half-black, half-Samoan, 6 foot 4, 275-pound pro wrestler … I was told at that time, well, you gotta be a certain way. You gotta drop some weight. You gotta be somebody different. You gotta stop working out. Stop doing the things that I love. You gotta stop calling yourself ‘The Rock’ … I made a choice, the choice was, I wasn’t gonna conform to Hollywood. Hollywood was gonna conform to me … I’m proudly half-black and half-Samoan and I wanted to bring those cultures here, up here for the world to see. So, yes it’s important that you are your most authentic self.”
Johnson concluded his speech: “But the quote [I leave you with] is this: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. With that, I love you. I thank you. Drink your tequila. I will see you all down the road. Thank you very much!”
The cast of the film High Strung welcomed Johnson to the stage in a Samoan-inspired, pyrotechnics-filled number with Queen’s “We Will Rock You” stirring up the crowd. “Amazing and supremely talented crew,” the California native gushed of the cast before the awards show aired on Monday. “Look forward to doing more down the road.”
Earlier in the day, Johnson’s alma mater, the University of Miami, paid tribute to him in a heartfelt tweet. “Another day, another award for our very own @TheRock! The proud @univmiami grad will receive the @MTV Generation Award for his contributions to both film and television,” a message on the college’s official Twitter page read.
“Always much love and gratitude,” the Baywatch star replied. “Where it all started and the boy (while still a large human:) became a man. THE U.”
Johnson also teased his epic acceptance speech in a tweet, writing: “You can feel the mana and power in the air ✊🏾 Got something big planned for you when I receive my Generation Award and I showcase/merge my black and samoan cultures. We bring it. Enjoy the show @9pm tonight.”
The Skyscraper actor got his start as a college football player at the University of Miami, where he won a national championship in 1991. After suffering a back injury — making him unable to play in the NFL — Johnson went on to make a name for himself as a professional wrestler in the WWE.
In 2001, Johnson made his film debut in The Mummy Returns, and has since appeared in more than two dozen movies. In his personal life, the former athlete is father to three daughters. He shares Simone, 17, with ex-wife Dany Garcia, and Jasmine, 3, and Tiana, 1, with girlfriend Lauren Hashian.
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