Actor Michael B Jordan will rename his J’Ouvert rum brand following accusations of cultural appropriation from the Caribbean community.
Over the weekend, several social media posts surfaced revealing the launch of Jordan’s new J’Ouvert rum. The brand attracted criticism across social media for using a term linked with Trinidad and Tobago.
A trademark for ‘J’Ouvert’ was filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office in September 2020 under class 33 for use on alcoholic beverages, except beer.
According to the application, the word ‘J’Ouvert’ has no meaning in a foreign language. However, a petition contested this statement, calling on Jordan to change the name of the rum brand.
The Change.org petition, which has received more than 13,000 signatures to date, noted that the word is ‘deeply rooted in Trinbagonian and Caribbean culture’.
The petition said: “The word J’Ouvert heralds the annual indigenous festivities of T&T’s [Trinidad and Tobago] beloved carnival, which began in the 1800s and is still practiced globally by people in and from the Caribbean.”
The Black Panther star posted an Instagram story yesterday (23 June) on his account, apologising for using the term and vowing to change the name of the rum.
He wrote: “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 and shine a positive light on.”
California-born Jordan added that he had been “learning and engaging in countless community conversations”.
The statement continued: “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.”
The actor’s new rum brand also drew criticism from Trinidadian-born rapper Nicki Minaj, who wrote on Instagram yesterday: “I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean people would find offensive – but now that you are aware, change the name and continue to flourish and prosper.”
This is not the first time Jordan has dabbled in rum. In December 2018, Bacardi rum hired the Creed star to co-direct a new film.