The son of Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and actress/singer Rita Wilson is facing the music about his use of the N-word in the past and the stubborn excuses he once had for keeping the slur in his vocabulary. In a recent episode of Van Lathan’s Red Pill podcast, Hanks refrained from going on the defensive and instead reasoned that his lifestyle and desperate thirst for attention led him to speak poorly.
Thanks to his recurring role on Season 5 of Lee Daniels’ FOX hit, Empire, Chester Hanks has gotten to see his credits broaden on IMDb. But transitioning from being a real-life troubled rapper in a family of thespians to playing a rapper on TV hasn’t come without its challenges. According to Ebony magazine, it is a lesson that Hanks has been learning the hard way, because fans have begun discovering old recordings of the 28-year-old’s early years as an aspiring rap star. In the recordings, Hanks challenged critics who called him out for getting a little too comfortable with the forbidden word.
Prior to playing Jimmy Grimm in Fantastic Four, and then working his way into television with spots on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Shameless, “Chet” Hanks enjoyed a brief run as “Chet Haze” on songs like “Do It Better,” “Finest Girl,” and “Juice.” He still puts out soundtrack records today, but followers will recall his musical ambitions getting derailed temporarily after a 2015 TMZ story exposed a rift between him and fans who took issue with him saying the N-word.
“Hip-hop is not about race. It’s about the culture you identify with. And can’t no one tell me what I can’t say,” Hanks was quoted as saying at the time. It would only be a matter of months before he would reverse course and return to TMZ to concede that it was not his “place” to determine a proper context for the word’s usage.
In that latter interview, Hanks did confess that he had been in and out of drug rehab to deal with a cocaine and crack habit. But he didn’t make a connection between his addiction and use of the N-word until this week.
“Number one, I was on a lot of drugs […] I wanted to be, like, down, you know what I mean? I just felt like I wasn’t enough,” Hanks told Lathan. He then went on to add that the thought of wild antics giving him credibility in the rap life also influenced what came out of his mouth.
“Low-key, like subconsciously, looking back on it now, I realize I was trolling,” Hanks said.