Chet Hanks, son of Tom Hanks, has declared 2021 the year of the “White Boy Summer.” Why do white boys hate it?
Tom Hanks’s other son Chet has had a history of public life uniquely different from his father’s. First coming to the public eye in 2010 as Chet Haze, the name he took on for his now defunct rap persona, he was mainly known for lukewarm rhymes, wanting to assault Howard Stern, and most recently, speaking in a faux patois at the Golden Globes and on social media for reasons unknown at time of writing.
You might think this is just another case of a beloved celebrity with a very weird child, but in this specific case you would be wrong. Over the last week, Chet Hanks has unleashed a concept so powerful into the world that is impossible to ignore: white boy summer. While this phrase seems hellish, especially when paired with the sentence, “tag a real vanilla king,” Chet Hanks’s concept of what it means to be a participant in white boy summer is a little bit more nuanced than you’d expect.
“I’m not talking about like, Trump, NASCAR type white,” he says in the Instagram post where he introduced the concept. “I’m talking about me, Jon B., Jack Harlow, type of white boy summer.” Jon B. are Jack Harlow are both white boys who have had lucrative careers in the world of black entertainment, Jon B. as an R&B singer, Harlow as a rapper.
What has followed is a fascinating taxonomy of what makes something White Boy Summer, according to Chet. In his Instagram stories, he has released “rules and regs” for White Boy Summer, further identifying the kind of white boys he’s talking about. To Hanks, clothing like Ralph Lauren polos or Sperry topsiders are in the same league as NASCAR and Trump. They are not White Boy Summer. Salmon colored clothes are also not White Boy Summer. Try a white tee and Vans instead.
While I think this is all generally good advice—you definitely should burn anything salmon colored that you own, it’s played out—I think Chet Hanks’s White Boy Summer has mainly caught on not with white men, but with black women. In fact, the whitest of white boy institutions, fraternity blog Total Frat Move, declared that they had beef with Chet upon the release of his first set of rules for the summer. The most cited Twitter account for updates on Chet Hanks, called Chet Hanks Updates, is run by a black woman. It doesn’t seem to hurt that, like Jon B. and Jack Harlow before him, Chet Hanks clearly really loves black women. In a recent video from Cameo, Chet literally bows to a “black queen” and tells her to hit him up.
Chet has also promised “Black Queen Summer” merch alongside his merch for White Boy Summer.
Tucked inside Chet’s rules and regulations are pieces of genuinely good advice, like not screaming every time you take a shot even if it feels good to say “woo!” and not getting all up in people’s faces because you’re drunk and think everyone is your best friend.
According to Chet, White Boy Summer ultimately means “nothing but good vibes towards everybody, that means everybody.” He explicitly calls out prejudicial beliefs against anyone from a different background than you, while also encouraging his viewers to “keep suck-a-duckin.”
With the exception of the faux patois thing, Chet has not yet been properly Milkshake Ducked yet (fingers crossed). For now White Boy Summer appears to be unironic wholesomeness, not unlike the kind his father is most famous for.
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