Recently Actor Michael B. Jordan announced the launch of his new line of Rum alcohol named “J’ouvert.” According to Yahoo “J’ouvert” is the name of a festival celebrating Caribbean culture. It’s held annually in Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada during Carnival. Shortly after his announcement, Jordan was accused of culturally appropriating Caribbean culture. Trinidadian American rapper Nicki Minaj and Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon were just a few of the many people that called him out.
Minaj posted a screenshot taken from another user’s account that explained the history of J’ouvert onto her Instagram. In her caption, she gave Jordan the benefit of the doubt regarding his true intentions. She also hoped that he would move forward from this now that he is more self-aware. “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,” she said.
Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon told Trinidad and Tobago Newsday that her office was interested in looking at whether Jordan had trademarked the name. “This is of keen interest, not only to the Ministry of Trade and Industry but also to the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. We all have an interest,” she continued, “Trinidad and Tobago is our interest.”
A Change.org petition was created in hopes of blocking Jordan from trademarking the name. According to the petition the “word J’ouvert is deeply rooted in Trinbagonian and Caribbean culture” and notes, it’s the name of “the annual indigenous festivities of T&T’s Carnival, which began in the mid-1800s when slaves were emancipated. Since its creation, the petition has gained over Twelve-thousand signatures.
Jordan responded to all the backlash by posting a statement apologizing on his Instagram account. Also, in his lengthy statement, he promised to change the name of his rum brand. “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,” He continued, “Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations… We hear you. 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.”