Just days after announcing its rum line, Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan has been in hot water. Jordan named his rum brand J’Ouvert (pronounced “jou-vay”) after a Caribbean festival associated with the liberation of slaves. after criticism from the Caribbean community, including rapper Nicki Minaj, Jordan apologized for his error of judgment. In an Instagram story, Jordan wrote the following.
“I want to say on behalf of myself and my partners that it was never our intention to offend or hurt a culture (we love and respect) and we hoped to celebrate and shine a positive light on it. There has been a lot of listening in days. Learning a lot and participating in countless community conversations… We hear you. I hear you and want to make it clear that we are in the process of renaming. We sincerely apologize and look forward to creating a brand introduce something we can all be proud of.”
The trouble started when Jordan, his partner Lori Harvey and fellow actor Bryan Greenberg shared stories about the drink on Instagram. The description of the rum read: “Derived from the Antellian Creole French term meaning ‘dawn’, J’OUVERT originated on the pre-dawn streets of Trinidad, as a celebration of emancipation combined with the Carnival season to serve as the casual festival start. on those same islands, J’OUVERT Rum is a tribute to the party start.”
It seems Jordan was aware of what he was doing but wasn’t expecting such a violent reaction. Today there is more awareness about sensitive cultural issues that mainly involve marginalized people. Jordan should have been more careful. In response to the brand’s use (or misuse) of the carnival name J’Ouvert, an online petition has been launched that currently has more than 12,000 signatures. The petition opposes the trademark application to the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The legal documents filed by Lous Ryan Schaffer state: “The word ‘J’Ouvert’ has no meaning in a foreign language”. That’s what hurt the Caribbean community the most. The campaign against the rum brand is as follows.
The word J’Ouvert announces the annual indigenous festivities of T&T’s beloved Carnival, which began in the 1800s and continues to be practiced worldwide by people in and from the Caribbean. We are not a powerless people! We are a people rich is to culture, history It is time we love ourselves enough to stop selling our culture to foreign entities who do not respect or value our global contributions, and who do not support and defend our countries in a respectful, long-lasting, tangible and verifiable ways!”
Trinidad and Tobago-born Rapper Nicki Minaj also got involved in the controversy. In an Instagram post, she wrote, “I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything that he thought Caribbean ppl would be offensive – but now that you know, change the name and keep thriving and thriving.”
Jordan is not the first celebrity to be accused of cultural appropriation. In fact, the Kardashians are famous for it. Kim Kardashian has received flak in the past because she named her shapewear Kimono after the traditional Japanese clothing. Last month, self-made billionaire Kendall Jenner appeared in an ad for her brand 818 tequila. She was accused of appropriating Mexican culture and received huge reactions.
Hopefully Jordan has learned his lesson and this controversy doesn’t end up hurting his career. He is currently one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood. He is rumored to be the frontrunner to play Superman in the upcoming WB reboot. Jordan also makes his directorial debut with Creed 3 come next year. He recently starred in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six adjustment, without remorse.