Tom Hanks’ rapper son, Chet Hanx, sparks debate: Is it OK for white people to use the n-word?

Chet Hanx, son of actor Tom Hanks, has sparked a firestorm on social media over use of the n-word.
Chet Hanx, son of actor Tom Hanks, has sparked a firestorm on social media over use of the n-word. Instagram

Chet Hanx, the aspiring rapper son of Tom Hanks, is at war with critics who want him to stop using the n-word. It’s 2015, he argues, so get with the times and back off.

He set off a mini-firestorm over the last few days when he posted photos of himself in London over the weekend and used the n-word in one of the captions.

He wrote: “2 types of people in this world: those who know exactly what it is they want and are doing everything they can to get it; and those who just wander aimlessly through life because they are scared to death of failure. I've lost a lot of so called friends cuz they turned out to be the second kind. (F-word) yall hating ass (n-word) I’ll never stop chasing my dream.”

The photo moved London’s Telegraph to observe that “there is hot competition for silliest celebrity offspring in Hollywood, but Chester Hanks just might be the winner.”

Hanx had already started catching flack on Saturday when he posted an Instagram photo of himself with a black rapper and referred to him as “my (n-word).

Hanx posted a lengthy explanation on Instagram for why he uses the word, which only seemed to make some people more angry.

“If I say the (n-word) I say it amongst people I love and who love me,” he wrote. “And I don't accept society getting to decide what ANYBODY can or can't say. That's something we call FREE SPEECH.

“Now I understand the older generation who grew up in the Jim Crowe era might have strong feelings against this. And that's understandable... But what I'm saying is this is 2015... And even tho we are still far from where we need to be and black people are still being literally KILLED by a RACIST and (f-ed) up system... We have also reached a point where the word can no longer have a negative connotation if we so choose.

“And who is to say only black people can use it? The way I see it, it's a word that unifies the culture of HIP-HOP across ALL RACES, which is actually kind of a beautiful thing. It's a word that can be used out of camaraderie and love, not just exclusively for black people. What's the point in putting all these built up ‘rules’ about it. It's time to let go. You can hate me or love me for it, but can't nobody tell me what I can or can't say.

“It's got nothing to do with trying to be a thug. It's about the culture of the music. And that's all I have to say about that (no pun intended) lol. It's all love. Some people will get it, some people won't. Either way, Ima keep living my life however the (f-word) I want. ALL LOVE.”

Many of the comments left on his Instagram page reflected the theme of this one: “I encourage ALL white people who think saying (n-word) is cool. To roll up on a (n-word) and play that ‘its just a word’... lemme know how it go ...” wrote about the flap using a headline that referred to Hanx as “Tom Hanks Delusional Seed Chet.”

“No one wants to hear Chet’s (crappy) music nor ‘like’ a photo of him and his (n-word),” the website wrote. “We actually hope that every microphone that Chet tries to rap on breaks ...”

But the backlash just made Hanx dig in by posting a video of himself in a first class seat on a plane, drinking champagne.

Twitter has its own take on the situation.