Accepting this year’s Generation Award at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, The Rock took the stage to, appropriately, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” (get it?) as dancers around him honored his dual heritage, Black and Samoan. And even though the award is meant to celebrate his own accomplishments over the span of his career, Dwayne Johnson couldn’t help but use his time at the mic to dish out some of his signature wisdom.
“I want to share a really quick lesson with you guys that I’ve learned over the years. The most powerful thing that we can be is ourselves,” he said, before going back in time and recalling his early interactions with the Hollywood machine, when the six-foot-four, 275-pound pro wrestler showed up ready for new opportunities. “They didn’t know what the hell to do with me,” he said.
At first, he was convinced to change himself in order to fit into their mold. It took him a few years to realize that he didn’t actually have to do that. “I wasn’t going to conform to Hollywood; Hollywood was going to conform to me,” he said. “So, Hollywood conformed to me and here I am with all of you getting the Generation Award. Ho-ly shit!”
Needless to say, being himself truly paid off. But wait — there’s more to this lesson. “That’s not enough,” The Rock said. “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.”
According to The Rock, the magic is in lifting up others around you. “You gotta recognize the joy and the responsibility of bringing everybody with you. We bring everybody with us, and you do that by being kind, by being compassionate, by being inclusive, and straight-up just being good to people because that matters,” he said. “And if you can hit that place, that’s when you become powerful, that’s when you become influential, that’s when you can have real global influence in a positive way.”
He summed it all up with a quote he’s lived by since he was 15 years old: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
And that’s what The Rock’s been cooking all these years.