Chet Hanks, the 30-year-old white son of actor Tom Hanks, is having a moment. Hanks, best known for speaking Jamaican patois for no reason and announcing his parents’ covid-19 diagnosis while shirtless, has deemed summer 2021 White Boy Summer... but not that kind of white.
“I’m not talkin’ about Trump, you know, Nascar type white,” Hanks clarified. “I’m talkin’ about, you know, me, Jon B, Jack Harlow type white boy summer. Lemme know if you guys can vibe with that and, get ready, because I am.”
But there are rules and regulations to this White Boy Summer that Hanks envisions. For the last week, Hanks has been sharing his White Boy Summer ethos on his Instagram account, especially his stories. Here’s a sampling:
No plaid shirts, okay? Can’t be lookin’ like a picnic table out here, boys. Leave those shits at home: The Vineyard Vines, the Ralph Laurens...whatever the fuck. Leave that shit at home. Black tee, white tee, keep it simple. Rule number two, no Sperry Top-Siders. That’s not the kind of white boys we’re talkin’ about, dog. Get yourself some Vans, some Chucks, some Jordans... I’m not really a sneakerhead, but feel it out... Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, no calling girls “smoke shows.” ... And anything salmon colored... burn it, burn that shit. Don’t ever wear that again. Okay, bottom line here, gentlemen: It’s time for us to evolve, okay? Period. it’s time for us to grow from a Pikachu to a Raichu.
This reads as an anti-prep screed above all else, but I respect it. I, too, see Vineyard Vines, Sperry’s, and salmon shorts as a red flag.
In another video, Hanks said he “consulted with the great White Boy Summer spirit” and determined that getting pedicures is White Boy Summer approved (“treat yourself, kings”), as are “wifebeaters.”
Someone also asked me can we ban wifebeaters. If we’re talking about actual people who beat their wives? Yes. If we’re talking about the tank tops? Absolutely not. I don’t know anything more White Boy Summer than a wifebeater. I mean, like, this is a staple of White Boy Summerdom. How could you even entertain the idea of banning wifebeaters? I mean, I’m insulted by this.
Thanks for the clarification, Chet.
Hanks’s rules of White Boy Summer are many and varied. Banned: Yelling in the club, Natty Ice, Busch Lite, and “those cheap ass fuckin plastic flimsy bottles of god knows what kind of vodka or tequila.” Approved: Chasing pre-workout with a sip of water, listening to “The Rhythm of the Night” by Corona and “So Icy” by Gucci Mane, backward baseball caps, dad hats “if the individual has a clean fade,” and jorts.
But the most important rule of White Boy Summer? No bad vibes, player.
“You know what’s not white boy summer? Having any ill will or prejudice toward anybody from a different background, race, walk of life than you, you know?... That’s not White Boy Summer, dude. That’s the shit we gotta elevate and get rid of, straight up... Because the real vibes is having nothing but good vibes toward everybody.
“Elevate” was definitely the wrong word choice here, but sure.
Hanks doesn’t deserve high praise for having common decency and disliking bad booze. But this is prime himbo content, and gassing up himbos is a pastime that should be taken advantage of at any opportunity.
“You know how I said you can’t be a real Ivory Queen without a Black Queen?” Hanks said in an Instagram video. “Well, this can’t be a White Boy Summer if it’s not a Black Queen Summer.”
Chet Hanks... thank you.
On Tuesday, I reached out to a friend of mine who runs @upchets, a Chet Hanks updates account on Twitter that predates Hanks’s White Boy Summer. The account has seen a slew of new followers in the last week. (My friend prefers to remain anonymous because, as she told me, “I don’t really want the whole world knowing this is my passion project.”)
“I think Chet is having a moment now because he’s someone that a lot of people have had a peripheral awareness of, but he exists at the perfect juncture of ‘internet personality,’ ‘nepotism career,’ and the sense of absurdism that’s become bigger and bigger during covid-19 when we’ve all been forced to focus so much more of our attention to the internet,” she told me via text.
But not everyone is endeared to Hanks or his White Boy Summer creed. Hanks’s antics have long been the subject of scorn, and his love for Black Queens can appear fetishistic. I asked @upchets, who is Black, if that complicates Hanks’s appeal.
“It’s such a tricky question, and I think a lot of people’s wariness about his appropriative behavior is justified,” she said. “It comes from the patois accent he extensively used as a bit in the past and his erstwhile ‘rap’ career, as well using the n-word in 2015, which he did apologize for.”
She continued, “I cannot tell other people how they should approach this, but I personally do not have an issue with it. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a shout-out, and as he continues to reiterate his message of inclusivity, it feels like less of a fetish.”
Well, Rihanna thinks it’s funny!
The Chet Hanks of 2015 is certainly different than the Chet Hanks of 2021: That year, he entered rehab for cocaine addiction. He became a father the next. He credited his daughter and his parents’ support for his new lease on life.
No word yet on who gets the credit for Hanks’s obsession with talking like a hypeman for Bounty Killer.
So, am I ready for White Boy Summer? Unfortunately, Chet Hanks’s unique brand of gym rat earnestness has endeared him to me. It almost borders on performance art, but I’m certain that this is 10 percent bit, 90 percent sincerity. Maybe the pandemic has scrambled my brain for good, but I’m here for a good time, not a long time, and I’m having a good time watching Chet Hanks cringe content.
And to anyone feeling left out, don’t worry, Chet is dedicated to making Summer 2021 as inclusive as possible.
“It’s a Brown Boy Summer, Black King Summer, Asian Queen Summer, Latina Queen Summer,” Chet said in a new Instagram post. “Everybody, bro.”