In a gripping 11-minute video posted to Facebook and Instagram, grieving actor/professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared clips from his eulogy at the funeral of his dad, Rocky Johnson, who died Jan. 15th of a heart attack.
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You trail blazed and even harder, you changed people’s harsh behaviors toward a man of color. Paving the way for me, my family and generations to come. You loved us with the capacity of which you could – given all the givens. Raised me with an iron hand and a tough complicated love. A love that now, as a father and man, I’ve learned to refine as I raise my own children. I wish I had one more shot. To say one more thing. You were taken too fast. Slipped right thru my hands. But you were so loved, lived so full, defined culture and now you rest high. Peacefully. And that makes my heart smile. I love you and now I have an angel to call by name. I’ll see you down the road, Soulman. Til we meet again. Your son 🥃🖤
Johnson, 47, thanked the public for the wave of condolences and shared about the moment he learned his 75-year-old father had passed away. Rocky Johnson, a native of Canada, blazed wrestling trails and was the first Black Georgia Heavyweight Champion.
“Man, I wish I had one more shot you know just to say goodbye, say I love you, say thank you, say I respect you, but you know, I have a feeling he’s watching, he’s listening,” Johnson said.
“I know my dad would be saying, ‘Kayfabe the tears,’ ” Johnson added with a chuckle, using the professional wrestling term that refers to staged portions of the sport.
The gentle giant appeared to be struggling to keep his composure as he gripped the lectern and spoke to the crowd.
“As you guys know, he went very quick,” Johnson said. “I was on my way to work the other day on Jan. 15th and I was just pulling into work and we were shooting that day and it was the very first day of production.”
Johnson was referring to the Netflix production of Red Notice.
Johnson said his wife, Lauren, called, and he got the news from an unidentified person named Cora as he was pulling into the parking lot of the production site. He described being in a fog and wishing everything was just a dream as he walked onto the set and hundreds of members of the production staff bustled around, waving to him and wishing him a good morning. The video showed a portrayal of that time from Johnson’s perspective.
“In that moment, I just thought, ‘What do I need to do? What’s the next thing that I need to do?’ And I heard a voice say ‘Well, hey, the show must go on,’ and that was my dad, that was my old man who told me that.”
As Johnson recounts this, the video shows the elder Johnson at one of his victories and a much younger Dwayne Johnson, sporting a short afro, in the audience.
The younger Johnson acknowledged his dad’s upbringing and said he’s built upon it to raise his own children. He recognized his dad as a racial trailblazer.
“For my dad, when he broke into the business in the mid-’60s and throughout the late ’60s and into the ’70s in the United States where racial tension and divide was very strong, and in the ’60s and the ’70s you have a black man coming in, it’s an all-white audience and all these small little towns that eventually I would go on to wrestle in — but at that time he changed the audience’s behavior and actually had them cheer for this black man,” Johnson said.