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Dwayne Johnson Draws Criticism for Being ‘Light Skinned’ After Landing John Henry Role on Netflix

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is currently under fire for being cast to play the role of a dark-skinned folk hero in his upcoming Netflix film.

Johnson who’s biracial, announced on Tuesday, he’ll be starring in the movie “John Henry and the Statesmen” which he will also be producing. The film is centered around a Black folklore legend who worked as a steel-driver in 1870 who raced against a steam machine and died. The former WWE wrestler explained in a caption why the project is very special to him.

“Inspired to bring to life one of my childhood heroes,” Johnson wrote. “In this movie, I’ll 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.”

However, the character of John Henry is usually depicted as a dark-skinned Black man, so Johnson’s revelation to play the role sparked outrage among people who disagreed with the casting. The Fast & Furious star is biracial with a Black father and a Samoan mother.



Twitter users were extremely upset over Johnson’s casting.

One person commented, “Historically, John Henry’s always been depicted as having a *very* dark skin complexion and while Dwayne Johnson is undeniably a black man, this is all quite 🧐🧐🧐. I’m legitimately curious who the target audience for this movie is meant to be.”

A second social media user wrote, “The dark skinned John Henry of Black folklore? (A double jab) Yeah that’s a no.”

A third added, “*Pause* Please tell me the Rock is NOT playing my Dark-Skinned John Henry. Because that would be a problem.”

Johnson just wrapped up the film “Disney’s Jungle Cruise” and will soon start production on “Jumanji 2”.

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