Michael B. Jordan says he’ll be renaming his rum brand, J’Ouvert, after many critics ― including rapper Nicki Minaj ― demanded he change the name as it appropriated from Caribbean culture.
On Tuesday, the “Black Panther” actor posted on his Instagram Stories that he never meant to “offend or hurt a culture (we love & respect) & hoped to celebrate.”
He said after “a lot of learning” and “engaging in countless community conversations,” he’d be changing the brand’s name and sincerely apologized.
The brand had taken its name from J’Ouvert, an annual party held as part of Carnival in many Caribbean islands that celebrates emancipation and often takes place at daybreak. Images of the brand’s rum box set circulated on social media this week, showing the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
Many people of Caribbean descent spoke out against Jordan’s use of their culture in his company.
Some even started a petition to stop Jordan from applying for a trademark of the rum.
Minaj joined the fray on Tuesday, posting a note on Instagram in response to a comment left about the historical significance of J’Ouvert and why it’s celebrated. She also called on Jordan to reconsider the name of his brand.
“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,” wrote the rapper.
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Earlier this week, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon told the island’s paper, Newsday, that Jordan’s rum brand was an issue “of extreme concern” due to the question of intellectual property.
“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,” says Gopee-Scoon. “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. Trinidad and Tobago is our interest.”
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