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Chet Hanks has invented a new meme called "white boy summer."
The meme instantly went viral, but Hanks has been accused of racism and fetishizing Black women.
Tom Hanks' 30-year-old son is frequently mired in controversy. He once defended using the N-word.
Chet Hanks, the first son born to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, lived up to his controversial reputation when he posted an Instagram story on March 26. Hanks, who previously used the moniker "Chet Haze" in a brief rap career, chewed gum as he said he had a feeling it was about to be a "white boy summer" and asked followers to "tag a real vanilla king."
The confusing term caught people's attention almost immediately, and the video has been watched over five million times on both Twitter and Instagram.
The meme takes inspiration from Megan Thee Stallion's viral "Hot Girl Summer" tagline of 2019, and it has puzzled critics and fans alike who have questioned the 30-year-old's intentions.
This is not Hanks' first time in his own spotlight without his famous parents. He once defended his own use of a racial slur, he has frequently been criticized for speaking in a Jamaican dialect, and he was accused of using a racial slur against an ex-girlfriend.
Hanks did not return a request for comment.
Here's what to know about Hanks and "white boy summer."
Hanks invented 'white boy summer' on Instagram
Hanks first described the type of "white boys" this summer would be for when he announced the trend on March 26. "I'm not talking about like, Trump, NASCAR type white," he said in that first video.
"I'm talking about me, Jon B., Jack Harlow, type of white boy summer." Both Jon B. and Jack Harlow are white musicians "who have had lucrative careers" in Black entertainment, as Vice's Gita Jackson reported when unpacking the trend.
Jackson wrote that the "concept of what it means to be a participant in white boy summer is a little bit more nuanced than you'd expect."
The patriarch of "white boy summer" then posted the rules of his new movement on his Instagram story the day after his first video. Speaking with the faux-Jamaican accent he's become known for, a shirtless Hanks informed his congregants that thou shalt not wear plaid shirts, vineyard vines, or Ralph Lauren while drinking with the boys. There shall also be no Sperry Topsiders, no calling girls "smokeshows," and no salmon-colored attire.
Other rules in the days that followed included additional clarity on footwear: "Flip flops are good, especially the Gucci ones," but "Birkenstocks are banned," Hanks said.
As criticism swirls, Hanks claims he wants his movement to be inclusive
The idea of dedicating an entire season to white males seems inherently exclusionary. But, as Naomi Fry wrote in The New Yorker, the message of "white boy summer" appears to be "that being a white boy shouldn't be a special source of pride; in Hanks's telling, white boys were a little idiotic and little pathetic, and most certainly in need of help, for which he was the self-assigned source."
Hanks even told followers in an Instagram story that "white boy summer" also means no "ill-will or prejudice against anybody from a different background, race or walk of life than you."
-Chet Hanks Updates (@upchets) March 28, 2021
The advent of the "white boy summer" movement has brought similar criticism. After Hanks released a line of "white boy summer" merchandise, many Twitter users called the font "racist."
-jos (@josiahhughes) March 30, 2021
-Astead (@AsteadWesley) March 30, 2021
Hanks then released a line of "Black Queen Summer" merchandise, which inspired accusations of fetishizing Black women, as Jason Johnson, an associate professor of communication and journalism at Morgan State University and a political contributor to MSNBC and CNN, said in a March 31 tweet.
Hanks has frequently been involved with racial controversy and defended his use of the N-word
In addition to his use of Jamaican patois as a white person who is not Jamaican, Hanks has also previously used the N-word - and defended his use of the racial slur. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2015, Hanks, who was 24 at the time, said on Instagram that he uses the slur "in real life amongst my black friends who get me and can't nobody tell me I can't say."
He also said he believed the N-word "unifies the culture of hip-hop across all races," and said people should "get with the times" because "it's 2015 now."
Now, new controversy has bubbled up amind the energy surrounding "white boy summer."
On March 31, TMZ posted a video where Hanks claimed that Kiana Parke, an ex-girlfriend, had attacked him with a knife. But, as Page Six first reported, Parke applied for a restraining order in Texas against Hanks in January, claiming that he had thrown a bottle at her.
Parke's application for a protective order, which was reviewed by Insider, also alleged that Hanks called his ex-girlfriend a "'ghetto black b----' and other hurtful things." Court documents show that a temporary restraining order began on March 31 and a judge in Fort Bend County, Texas, revoked Hanks' handgun license. An attorney for Parker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After the allegations were reported, the Chet Hanks Updates Twitter account, which is run by a Black man, according to Vice, posted that they would no longer be sharing updates about Hanks or "white boy summer."
-Chet Hanks Updates (@upchets) March 31, 2021
Even in light of that news, Hanks has continued to post about "white boy summer" on his Instagram story, promising new incoming rules. Now, Page Six reports, he's even filming a movie about it.
Read the original article on Insider