Michael B. Jordan Apologizes, Renames Rum Brand After ‘J’Ouvert’ Controversy

By: Alyssa Wilson

Michael B. Jordan has agreed not to use the term “J’Ouvert” for his new business venture after being accused of cultural appropriation. The 34-year-old actor launched his rum brand under the name and faced criticism from the Caribbean community.  

By definition, J’Ouvert is the official start of carnival, at the dawn of the Monday before Lent, making it an essential tradition in Caribbean culture. According to INSIDER, in the trademark filing for the name, the actor said the word had “no meaning in a foreign language.” Soon after, a petition with more than 10,000 signatures emerged to stop his use of the term.  

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The petition said, “The word J’Ouvert is deeply rooted in Trinbagonian and Caribbean culture… We are not a powerless people! We are a people rich in culture, history, and love. 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!”  

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On Monday, Trinidadian-born rapper Nicki Minaj spoke out on Instagram, saying, “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 & continue to flourish & prosper.”  

 

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Paula Gopee-Scoon, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Industry, also said the name was concerning and that her department would investigate. “The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so,” she said. “Then working together with the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, we’ll do the necessary investigation and, as always, seek to support anything that is Trinidad but at the same time protect what is ours.”  

 

Michael B. Jordan issued an apology to the Caribbean community on Instagram after being accused of cultural appropriation for naming his rum brand “J’Ouvert.” (Photo: Screenshot from Michael B. Jordan Instagram story)

Jordan issued an apology on his Instagram story Tuesday, announcing he and his partners never intended to hurt a culture they “hoped to celebrate & shine a positive light on.” He also noted that his team is in the process of renaming and reintroducing the brand.  

 

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