Lots of fans of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have long called for the football player-turned-pro-wrestler-turned-Hollywood A-lister to run for President of the United States of America. Those fans might be encouraged by The Rock’s latest video message on Instagram. Though Johnson stops short of calling out President Donald Trump — or anyone, really, since he doesn’t use names at all — he’s clearly unhappy with the lack of what he calls “compassionate leadership” at this pivotal moment in America.
But while Johnson’s decision to speak out about #BlackLivesMatter — including the ongoing protests taking place in every U.S. state, and the mobilization of militarized police, National Guard, and the military itself — is commendable, his message is less clear. He seems to hit all the talking points for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but in the same breath he says that “All lives matter.” While at its most basic definition, obviously that rings true, and The Rock says as much, but the phrase, at best, undercuts the meaning of the movement and, at worst, has been co-opted by the alt-right. The Rock then goes on to mention both the peaceful protestors and the “looters, criminals” in another breath. It’s all a little strange, as if he’s sometimes reading a prepared speech and sometimes speaking from the heart, all while being conscious of trying not to offend either side … but this approach ends up not really supporting anyone either. Your mileage may vary.
Johnson has been relatively quiet during the #BlackLivesMatter protests, save for a couple of posts on Instagram:
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Past few days I’ve been stunned trying make sense of George Floyd’s death. The video. The plea for breath. The callous response. The racism. The killing. This is our ongoing disease. I’ve had cops in my family. Good men. And there’s a cop code, granting you the authority to use force if your life is in danger. But when a man is handcuffed, on the ground, no longer a threat, with your brothers in arms standing around watching and he struggles to say, “please I can’t breathe” when your knee is on his neck.. not his back, but his neck – cutting off his air. Cop code must become moral code. Ethics code. HUMANITY code. Knowing that if you don’t ease up, then that man is going to die. So when you decide to not ease up, your intention is to kill. And that’s what this was. George Floyd, said “officer I can’t breathe” as he struggled for air. He said these words a total of 15 times. Not once. Not twice. 15 times. These officers will be charged, I’m positive of that. Held accountable. But then where’s the greater accountability? The leadership to healing. More importantly, the leadership to EQUALITY. We ultimately win when we can normalize equality. I’m so sorry to the Floyd family. My heart breaks for you. Let the process begin now. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #NormalizeEquality
Last night he broke his silence and delivered an eight-minute speech addressing America’s current lack of compassionate leadership, the protests themselves, and the need to “normalize equality.” Check it out below:
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Our country is crippled and on its knees, begging to be heard and pleading for change. Where is our compassionate leader? The leader who unifies and inspires our country at our most painful time when we need it the most. The leader who steps up and takes full accountability for our country and embraces every color in it. The leader who picks our country up off its knees and says you have my word – we got this – and together, change will happen. Where are you? Because we’re all here. Maybe one day that galvanizing leader will emerge. Either way, the process to change has already begun. #normalizeequality #blacklivesmatter