Michael B. Jordan has decided to rename his rum brand following criticism that he was culturally appropriating a Trinidadian festival. A petition for Jordan to not trademark the name has now reached over 12,000 signatures.
Michael B. Jordan has announced he will be renaming his rum brand, J'Ouvert, following accusations of cultural appropriation.
The name comes from a celebrated Caribbean carnival J'Ouvert. The rum's box reads:
"Derived from the Antellian Creole French term meaning 'daybreak,' J'Ouvert originated in the pre-dawn streets of Trinidad, as celebrations of emancipation combined with Carnival season to serve as the festival's informal commencements."
"Crafted on those same islands, J'Ouvert Rum is a tribute to the 'party start.'"
According to photos posted from the launch party over the weekend, the rum is advertised as a "tribute" to the annual Caribbean carnival celebration of the same name.
What’s next? A free doubles with every #JouvertRum purchase?! 🥴😭 someone point out Michael B Jordan’s Trini roots fast for me please!!! Cuz I’m not understanding this shit. Is it his grandma who makes the rum cakes??? pic.twitter.com/7Q8E1uowmU— Hot & Unbothered 🤎 🇬🇩🇬🇾 (@AllianaSabrina) June 20, 2021
However, many took issue with the actor using and trademarking the name while having no apparent personal connection to the region.
Locals and people connected to the region were, quite understandably, upset that their carnival was going to be erased by the new rum...
imagine trying to explain what jouvert is to someone and they go “oh michael b jordan rum” 😕 https://t.co/kmTtYuBRYb— nika🦋 (@spxcyy) June 20, 2021
In a statement to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon said the issue was "of extreme concern."
"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."
A petition to stop the Black Panther star from trademarking the name has so far amassed over 12,000 signatures.
The petition description states: "The word J'Ouvert is deeply rooted in Trinbagonian and Caribbean culture."
"The word J'Ouvert heralds the annual indigenous festivities of T&T's beloved Carnival, which began in the 1800s and is still practiced globally by people in and from the Caribbean."
"It was recently discovered that in the official USPTO filing by Attorney Ryan Louis Shaffer for the use of the word J'Ouvert, under international classification 33: Alcoholic beverages, except beers (U.S. codes 047, 049), the official document states that, 'The wording "J'OUVERT" has no meaning in a foreign language'."
Yesterday, rapper Nicki Minaj, who is Trinidadian, called for Jordan to change the brand's name.
In an Instagram post, the rapper detailed the significance of the word and the cultural history of the festival.
"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."
A few hours later, Jordan posted a statement to his own Instagram story apologizing for offending the people of Trinidad and announced he and his business partners would be renaming the brand.
Jordan took to his Instagram to express his mistake...
"I just wanna say on behalf of myself and my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture we love and respect and hoped to celebrate and shine a positive light on," Jordan wrote.
"Last few days has been a lot of listening," he went on. "A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations. We hear you. I hear you and want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming. We sincerely apologize and look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of."