On Wednesday night, Chet Hanks joined Clubhouse and created the chatroom “All Love.” The actor, who’s a descendant of Hollywood royalty and perpetual fave Tom Hanks, is one of five or six recognizable names you might find browsing Clubhouse—the audio-only, invite-exclusive platform—on any given day.
Chet Hanks has made a decent career of his own after stumbling out of the blocks the way most children of famous people do. He is neither the youngest Hanks, nor the oldest; neither the most famous, nor the most talented son (Colin fills that role). For what it’s worth—and so far, it hasn’t been much—he does understand how to command the spotlight. At the Golden Globes in January, Hanks set social media ablaze with a clip of him mimicking Jamaican patois on the red carpet. Chet is also an aspiring musician who, according to his Instagram, had spent a chunk of time in Jamaica going on a “dancehall deep dive,” to paraphrase him. The responses to his antics ranged from genuine delight at him amplifying Jamaican culture in this decidedly not-Jamaican space to taunts about the middle Hanks’ seemingly endless, winding journey into Black identity. (During his tenure as the rapper “Chet Haze,” he freely used the N-word, and later apologized for it.)
As he kicked off his “All Love” room, however, he faced the critique from Jamaicans and others that he was using what’s considered Black lingo without meaningfully engaging with Black struggle. It’s a problem many white admirers (and usurpers) of Black culture face: how can they benefit from the cool factor that the culture endows while paying none of the cost?