Michael B. Jordan has apologized for naming his rum brand J’Ouvert after being called out by Trinidad and Tobago communities for cultural appropriation. His brand initially filed a trademark stating the term has “’J’Ouvert’ no meaning in a foreign language.” The revelation sparked criticism of Jordan’s erasure of the history and significance of the term to Caribbean cultures, namely Trinbagonians. An online petition on Change.org called for the trademark to be dismissed and garnered over 12,000 signatures.
The actor has decided to rename the company after the backlash took center stage and he learned the history of the term and the cultures that use it. Jordan shared an apology in his Instagram Stories feed, saying he would launch his brand with a different name.
“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 wrote. “Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations…”
The statement continued, “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.”
Rapper Nicki Minaj, who is from Trinidad, was one of many who called the Creed actor out, in hopes he would change the name of his rum.
“I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive,” the “Seeing Green” artist wrote on her Instagram caption. Her upload featured a screenshot from username xaria_rae explaining the history of Jouvert.
She continued “but now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.”
Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon said the issue was “of extreme concern” to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. “The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so. 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.”
View a screenshot of MJB’s statement below: