Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gave a moving acceptance speech after receiving the Icon Generation Award at this year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards.
“I thank you, all of you at home. You are the reason I’m getting this,” the 47-year-old actor, producer, and wrestler said in his acceptance speech. “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.”
Host Zachary Levi introduced the “Fast and Furious” star with the award.
Johnson also spoke about his journey in the entertainment industry, as well as some of the challenges he faced along the way.
“When I first got to Hollywood—Hollywood, they didn’t know what the [expletive] 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?!'”
“And for years, I actually, I 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 gonna conform to Hollywood, Hollywood was gonna conform to me. So, Hollywood conformed to me and here I am with all of you getting the Generation Award,” he added, as the audience erupted into cheers.
Johnson came out on stage in a celebration of his cultural heritage—amidst dancers performing a blend of hip-hop moves and Samoan dance to Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
TONIGHT on @MTV.
You can feel the mana and power in the air ✊????
Got something big planned for you when I receive my Generation Award and I showcase/merge my black and samoan cultures.
We bring it.
Enjoy the show @9pm tonight. #MTVAwards #GenerationAward???? pic.twitter.com/w5DVepO9Xf
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) June 17, 2019
“I’m proudly half-black and half-Samoan, and I wanted to bring those cultures up here for the world to see,” he said.
Johnson added that while it’s important to be authentic to oneself, it’s even more important to remember to help others.
“While yes, it’s important to be yourself, you’ve got to recognize the joy and responsibility of bringing everybody with you,” he said. “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.”
— MTV (@MTV) June 18, 2019
Johnson finished off with one of his favorite quotes.
“When I was 15 years old, I heard a quote, and I will never forget it. I bring it with me everywhere I go, and it’s ingrained in my DNA,” he said. “The quote is this: ‘It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”