Michael B. Jordan has finally addressed all of the criticism over his new rum brand’s name after Nicki Minaj and others online called for him to change it.
On Tuesday, the Creed star took to his Instagram Story to apologize for naming his new rum brand J’Ouvert following accusations that the name appropriated Caribbean culture, causing hysteria all over social media.
“I just wanna say on behalf of myself & my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture(we love & respect) & hoped to celebrate & shine a positive light on,” MBJ wrote on his story. “Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations…”
He went on to explain that the brand will be renamed just as everyone is suggesting.
“We hear you,” Jordan wrote. “I hear you & want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming. We sincerely apologize & look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”
This comes following Michael B. Jordan’s other half, Lori Harvey, posted photos from an apparent launch party for J’Ouvert rum over the weekend, congratulating him on the new business venture. Unfortunately, once people familiar with Caribbean culture noticed the name, the backlash began.
A proud Trinidadian herself, Nicki Minaj was one of those to call attention to the disrespectful nature of J’Ouvert’s name, asserting the fact that Jordan should name his rum brand something else. Prior to his apology on June 22, she reposted a message about the event’s cultural significance and urged the actor to rename his rum. Still, she defended him in the process.
“I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive,” the rapper wrote. “but now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.”
People across social media were concerned about the J’Ouvert name which has been deeply rooted in traditional Caribbean and Trinidadian culture stretching back to the 1800s. The term signifies the start of Carnival, a celebration that signaled the end of slavery for many people within the Caribbean at that time.
Critics online took offense in particular to Jordan’s trademark filing for the rum brand which stated that the word ‘J’OUVERT’ has no meaning in a foreign language.”
Backlash poured across social media as some accused the Black Panther star of profiting off a culture he has no connection to.
One Twitter user wrote:
“What’s next? A free doubles with every #JouvertRum purchase?! Woozy faceLoudly crying face someone point out Michael B Jordan’s Trini roots fast for me please!!! Cuz I’m not understanding this sh*t. Is it his grandma who makes the rum cakes???”
While another social media goer added:
“Michael B Jordan never been to jouvert or mass. But has the nerve to want to profit off West Indian culture and call it Jouvert Rum….”
A Change.org petition has since been created to stop the trademark of “J’Ouvert,” claiming that the filing makes a “fraudulent and inaccurate statement” about the name.
“We are not a powerless people! We are a people rich in culture, history, and love,” the petition reads. “It’s time we love ourselves enough to stop the sale of our culture to foreign entities that do not respect or value our global contributions, and who do not support and uphold our countries in respectful, long-lasting, tangible, and verifiable ways!”
As of Wednesday, the petition has received over 12,000 signatures.
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