Michael B Jordan apologises after name of new rum brand sparks accusations of cultural appropriation

·2-min read
Michael B Jordan apologises for name of rum company after backlash (Getty Images for BACARDI rum)
Michael B Jordan apologises for name of rum company after backlash (Getty Images for BACARDI rum)

Michael B Jordan has apologised and announced he will be renaming his newly created rum company, J’Ouvert, after accusations of cultural appropriation.

The criticism began over the weekend, shortly after Jordan revealed the name of the new brand, as J’Ouvert is an Antillean Creole French term that translates to “daybreak” and signals the start of the annual festival Carnival in the Carribean, which originated in Trinidad and dates back to the 18th century when people were still enslaved.

On social media, many, including Nicki Minaj, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, took offense with the actor’s choice, as he does not appear to have any connection to the culture. On Instagram, Minaj reposted a post detailing the issues with the use of the term by the liquor company before urging Jordan to change the name.

“I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive - but now that you are aware, change the name and continue to flourish and prosper,” she wrote.

In addition to backlash over the cultural insensitivity of the name, the actor also faced criticism for trademarking the term, specifically over a line in the trademark filing that claimed the term has “no meaning in a foreign language,” according to The Guardian.

On Tuesday, the Black Panther star addressed the concerns on his Instagram Stories, where he apologised and said that the last few days had been filled with listening and learning.

“I just wanna say on behalf of myself and my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture (we love and respect) and hoped to celebrate andshine a positive light on,” Jordan wrote. “Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations...

“We hear you. I hear you and want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming. We sincerely apologise and look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”

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The apology comes after the Minister of Trade and Industry of Trinidad and Tobago, Paula Gopee-Scoon, told Newsday that the trademark issue was one of “extreme concern” and that, working together with the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, they would be seeking to “support anything that is Trinidad but at the same time protect what is ours”.

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