Chet Hanks, the aspiring rapper and son of actor Tom Hanks, defended his use of a Jamaican accent on social media in a conversation on the social media app Clubhouse. Hanks was first blasted for mimicking Jamaican patois in a video at the Golden Globes red carpet in January but has continued to use it in subsequent videos. Hanks used the accent as recently as last month when he shared a video celebrating President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Hanks joined a chat on Clubhouse, where he was confronted about the Jamaican accent. “Guys, it’s really as simple as this,” the 30-year-old said, reports the Independent. “If I get on a binge and I watch a bunch of English gangster movies, and I go around, ordering a coffee at Starbucks and I’m with my friend and I go, ‘Give me a latte, guvna.’ I’m not s— on English people.”
Ay yo Chet Hanks done pissed off Jamaicans and ain’t even sorry about it 😭 pic.twitter.com/NqdNeEQ9mS— 𝒜𝓁𝓌𝒶𝓎𝓈 & 𝐹𝑜𝓇𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓇 (@ore_xoxo) December 3, 2020
Several people chimed in simultaneously, all telling him that English people have not been oppressed like Jamaicans. One person reportedly accused Hanks of using "verbal blackface." The chat became tenser. At one point, Hanks said, "I’m aware of the history. I’m aware of that." Just over two minutes of the chat surfaced on Twitter.
Hanks was first criticized for using the accent back in January when he posted a video of himself attempting to sound Jamaican from the Golden Globes red carpet before his father received the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. In February, Hanks defended his use of the accent in a video in which he wondered why people did not have a problem with a "Black person wearing cowboy hats and cowboys boots and loving country music," but did not like him using the accent.
“If you don’t have a problem with a Black person wearing cowboy hats and cowboys boots and loving country music, then why do you have a problem with white people wearing braids and gold teeth and getting into hip-hop music?” he said in the now-deleted video, notes Global News. “It’s this whole idea of theft, of they steal it from us.” He later asked, "Why can’t it just be that he loves Black culture and that’s just what speaks to him? Why are we so caught up on this idea of theft and stealing?”
Back in October, Hanks claimed he was leaving social media because "pro-Trump conspiracy theorists" posted claims about him online. The break lasted less than a month though, as he returned in early November. On Nov. 7, he published a video celebrating Biden's win, in which he once again used a Jamaican accent in his comments. On Nov. 11, he published a video showing a friend adding a beat to his recording.