Tom Hanks’ son Chet defends his use of the N-word
Chet Hanks, the rapper son of Oscar winner Tom Hanks, not only repeatedly used the N-word on social media but defended its use because he believes it “unifies the culture of hip-hop across all races.”
He also factored free speech, the civil rights movement, Jim Crow and “a racist” justice system into his lengthy contention for universal use of the term.
The “Juice” emcee made his argument in a series of Instagram posts after he came under fire this week when he posted a photo of himself in London. He accompanied the snapshot with a verbose caption about chasing his dream despite the “haters” who tell him he can’t. Of course, he referred to those haters using the F-word and N-word, demarcated in brackets below.
“2 types of people in this world: those who know exactly what it is they want and are doing everything they can to get it; and those who just wander aimlessly through life because they are scared to death of failure,” he wrote on Sunday. “I’ve lost a lot of so called friends cuz they turned out to be the second kind [expletive] yall hating [expletives] I’ll never stop chasing my dream”
The 24-year-old, who goes by the stage name Chet Haze, drew much criticism after the post, and by Monday he shared a reply intended to promote his new track. But it turned into a defense of his use of the racial slur.
“I do say the n word in real life amongst my black friends who get me and can’t nobody tell me I can’t say what the [expletive] I feel like no disrespect to the struggle of black ppl during the civil rights movement but it’s 2015 now,” he wrote, imploring people to “get with the times.”
He also said that he doesn’t discriminate when he uses the term and readily describes white, Asian and Mexican people with it
The backlash played out in comments on his posts and in various places online. It then prompted another series of posts explaining his viewpoint.
The next defense came in the form of a video in which Hanks said that “hip-hop isn’t about race, it’s about the culture you identify with.”
In the video’s caption, he said that if and when when he uses the term, he uses it among people he loves and people who love him.
“I don’t accept society getting to decide what ANYBODY can or can’t say. That’s something we call FREE SPEECH,” he continued.
The “Fantastic Four” actor said he understands that “the older generation” who grew up in the Jim Crow era might disagree with him, and he’s OK with that. However, he also was quick to point out that it’s 2015 and society is still “far from where we need to be.”
“Black people are still being literally KILLED by a RACIST and [expletive] system,” he said. “We have also reached a point where the word can no longer have a negative connotation if we so choose. And who is to say only black people can use it? The way I see it, it’s a word that unifies the culture of HIP-HOP across ALL RACES, which is actually kind of a beautiful thing.”
Hanks continued saying that it’s a word “that can be used out of camaraderie and love, not just exclusively for black people.” He didn’t see any point in putting “built up ‘rules’ ” around its use.
“You can hate me or love me for it, but can’t nobody tell me what I can or can’t say. It’s got nothing to do with trying to be a thug. It’s about the culture of the music. And that’s all I have to say about that (no pun intended) lol. It’s all love. Some people will get it, some people won’t. Either way, Ima keep living my life however the [expletive] I want. ALL LOVE,” he added.
On Tuesday, the rapper posted another video on the topic in another attempt to clarify his stance.
“Under no circumstances would I go up to somebody that I didn’t know” and use the term, he said in the video. “It’s an unspoken thing between people who are friends and understand each other.”
In that video’s caption, he said that he didn’t care what people think of him and the current flap didn’t seem to bother him much either.
“If you still want to be mad, be mad! That’s your right. What people think about me is none of my business. But please don’t act like you know my whole story either! We are all infinitely intelligent creatures on our own journeys. It’s life. ALL LOVE” he added.
Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.
Your essential guide to the arts in L.A.
Get Carolina A. Miranda's weekly newsletter for what's happening, plus openings, critics' picks and more.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.