Just take a quick look at Dwayne Johnson’s resume, and it’s stunningly clear the guy’s a very hard worker. Additionally, word on the street is he’s a really nice guy.
And I like him.
A little bit more, in fact, after his 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards acceptance speech for the Generation Award honor.
Award shows, in my opinion, aren’t particularly gripping; neither are most speeches. But Dwayne’s presentation did something few speeches do: It revived a pearl of wisdom so old, it’s downright corny.
But it shouldn’t be.
The world seems to be spinning at an accelerated rate — so fast, in fact, that the morals and values of old are flying off of it. Things once considered sacred are shooting off the planet like mist from a shaking, drying dog. And we’re not the better for it.
In his speech to America’s youth, Dwayne reminded everyone of something any good grandmother taught her rugrats once upon a time: One of the most important things you can ever do is be a nice person.
In this modern political-trolling-bickering-attacking lousy climate, that sounds so…yesterday (see more here).
But Dwayne brought sexy back.
The Rock was introduced with a rundown of his achievements: college football at the University of Miami, wrestling domination, television triumph, movie stardom.
Then Dwayne came out dancing in tribute to his Samoan roots, by way of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
And here’s some of what the hard-working nice guy had to say:
“Thank you. Thank you so much. … Thank you to MTV for this awesome — they’re really incredible — prestigious award.
“I also want to thank my family at home. My girls — I got a houseful of strong-a** women. 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 wanna share a really quick lesson with you guys that I’ve learned over the years.”
Dwayne told the crowd: In life, you have to be yourself.
And he’s right.
“When I first got to Hollywood — Hollywood, they didn’t know what the hell to do with me. I mean, I was this half-black, half-Samoan and six-foot-four, 275-pound pro wrestler. You know, I was told at that time, ‘Well, you got to be a certain way. You got to drop some weight. You’ve got to be somebody different. You got to stop working out. Stop doing the things that I love. You got to stop calling yourself The Rock.’ What?!”
Being someone other than himself made him “miserable”:
“And for years, I actually bought into it because you think, ‘Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to do.’ And I was miserable doing that. So I made a choice. And the choice was I wasn’t going to conform to Hollywood. Hollywood was going to conform to me. So, Hollywood conformed to me, and here I am with all of you getting the Generation Award. … What you saw here tonight, that’s who I am. I’m proudly half-black and half-Samoan and I wanted to bring those cultures here for the world to see. So yes, it’s important that you are your most authentic self.”
But that’s not all:
“I’m a walking example of that, but here’s the thing that I want to share with you guys: That’s not enough. Because there’s another side to being your authentic self, your true self – and that’s the side that the magic is on. That’s the side that’s gold. While yes, it’s important to be yourself – you’ve got to recognize the joy and the responsibility of bringing everybody with you. And you do that by being kind, by being compassionate, by being inclusive and straight up just being good to people because that matters.”
Enter Grandma Dwayne; I can just see him in his knitted sweater and apron, calling me inside to eat the cinnamon rolls he’s baked for me. And while I scarf ’em down — before I get back on my wide-handlebarred Huffy — he’s gonna give me this advice:
“When I was 15 years old, I heard a quote, and I will never forget. And I bring it with me everywhere I go, and it’s ingrained in my DNA. The quote 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.”
Okay…well, Grandma shouldn’t be telling me — an 11-year-old with Pac-Man kneesocks — to drink Tequila. But you’ll forgive his irresponsible, alcohol-encouragin’ ways.
The Rock hit on the solid foundation of good behavior and happiness in life — be authentically nice to people.
And that’s advice worth taking.
Thanks, Grandma. And, if I may say so — you should cut down on your protein intake. A 70-year-old woman shouldn’t look like that. Your shoulders are huge…and I think you’re scarin’ Grandpa.
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