The Mummy Returns star Dwayne Johnson—AKA “The Rock,” AKA “Flex Kavana,” AKA Star Trek Voyager star Dwayne Johnson—boasts a unique multiethnic background.
We begin with his old man, Wayde Douglas Bowles, AKA Rocky Johnson. Also a professional wrestler, he was born and raised in Canada, a Black Nova Scotian. Interesting story—he was descended from Black Loyalists, generally escaped former enslaved people who sided with the British during the American Revolutionary War on account of how King George promised to set them free. Thomas Jefferson hated them and called them “fugitives.” Somehow, Hamilton missed that part.
Additionally, the elder Rock claimed some amount of Irish heritage, with Dwayne Johnson discussing the revelation in a press interview for Hercules back in 2014. Of his newfound cultural heritage, he stated “I’ve always felt like I was tough, had a little bit of luck,” before going on to state that he likes to drink. His Irish interviewer was happy to welcome Johnson into the fold, and the sentiment spread. There’s an article in The Irish Post titled “Dwayne Johnson’s Little Known Irish Heritage Revealed,” which feels like a little bit of a stretch, but whatever. Until Brendan Gleeson gets his own Fast and the Furious spinoff series, Ireland gets to take its wins where they can find them.
On his mother’s side, it’s a quicker story. Johnson’s mom, Ata, is Samoan—more like Samoan royalty, at least in wrestling circles. She was born into the Anoa’i family, a group with wrestling in its bones, the daughter of star wrestler Peter Maivia and wrestling promoter Lia Maivia. Having a family of wrestlers came in handy for Johnson, who kept his cousin, American Gladiators’ own Tanoai “Toa” Reed, employed as his stunt double on projects from 2002’s The Scorpion King to 2022’s Black Adam.