Chet Hanks defends controversial Jamaican accent in Clubhouse chat

Aspiring rapper refused to back down despite other people in the debate attempting to explain why it was problematic

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 03 December 2020 09:47
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Chet Hanks turns up in Clubhouse defending his right to use patois

Tom Hanks’ son Chet took part in a conversation on new social app Clubhouse, in which he defended his controversial impressions of a Jamaican accent.

The aspiring rapper has raised eyebrows over a number of videos in which he appeared to mimic Jamaican patois.

In January, he was accused of cultural appropriation after giving his father – who was nominated for an Oscar for his lead role in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood – a shout-out while using the accent.

However, he continued to use it in videos, including for one in November where he was seen celebrating Joe Biden’s US presidential election win.

Hanks Jr, who also goes by his rapper name Chet Haze, has since appeared to have taken part in a debate about the accent on Clubhouse, an audio-based social network where people can take part in different discussions across various “rooms”.

Twitter user @ore_xoxo posted a clip of the conversation, where Hanks was heard being challenged by a number of black Americans in the same chat room.

“Guys, it’s really as simple as this,” Hanks said. “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***ing on English people.”

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While several people attempted to explain to Hanks that English people have not faced oppression like Jamaicans, he refused to back down.

One person apparently accused him of using “verbal blackface”.

The clip posted to Twitter does not reveal how the debate concluded, but Hanks’s name trended on Twitter as people criticised him for failing to understand why his use of the accent is problematic.

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“The Chet Hanks conversation is white privilege in action. He can go to hell and take every misguided BW who is on that stage defending him,” wrote actor and writer Kelechi Okafor.

“The irony of Chet hanks using his calm “white” voice to defend his use of patois and a Jamaican accent. If that’s your voice use it all the time big man,” one Twitter user said.

The Independent has contacted Chet Hanks’s representative for comment.

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