"The Rock" is set to play John Henry, the "Steel-Driving Man."
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been receiving a lot of flack for accepting the role of a Black folk hero. "The Rock" who is Black Canadian and Polynesian heritage, did not get a roaring reception from Blackamericans upon announcing his casting for the forthcoming Netflix film, John Henry and the Statesmen. But one person with an ounce of credibility in the matter has come to his defense. Roger Aaron Browne, who played the iconic "John Henry" character in the 1995 adaptation of the folktale, believes that concerns over Dwayne's pigmentation are utter nonsense.
Roger Aaron Browne believes there is much more to the role than the darkness of the actor's skin. "John Henry is an iconic character," Browne explained in a video posted on TMZ. "It’s been done several times, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has paid his dues as an actor and as a human being. I happen to like the guy—and the one thing about his energy is the compassion along with the physical stature. These days that’s so needed and necessary."
The legend of "Old John Henry" dates back to the late 1800s when it is believed a man bearing his name overperformed an industrial drilling-machine in a head-to-head matchup. After performing the much-debated feat of strength, John Henry was then dubbed the "Steel-Driving Man" until the time of his death. The legitimacy of the tale is disputed by Historians to this very day, but the folklore is bound to live on for years-to-come.