Posted on April 10, 2021

The Viral ‘White Boy Summer’ Meme Is the Latest Confusing Stunt from Chet Hanks

Steven Asarch, Insider, April 5, 2021

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 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.


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.”


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.”