Michael B. Jordan, who has starred in blockbuster movies such as “Black Panther” and “Creed” launched his own brand of rum over the weekend. The problem with that, is he decided to name it “J’Ouvert” and applied to have the name trademarked. Following the launch, social media exploded with negative comments, especially from many local and regional nationals who felt Jordan was culturally appropriating the “J’Ouvert” name for his own benefits.
An Instagram user from Trinidad and Tobago, Xaria Rae Roxburgh (@xara_rae) sought to educate everyone about the origins of “J’Ouvert,” which was later shared by none other than Trini-born superstar, Onika Maraj-Petty, aka “Nicki Minaj.” Xaria said the following in her post:
THE IGNORANCE IS REAL! HISTORY LESSON Y'AII!
While sharing Xaria’s explanation of “J’Ouvert” on her Instagram account with over 142 Million followers, Nicki Minaj chimed in on the controversy and asked Jordan to change the name of his rum. She said, “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.“
It seems Jordan got the message loud and clear from Minaj and many others, as the actor took to his Instagram story on Tuesday to issue an apology: “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. 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.”
Many expressed their happiness with Jordan’s announcement on social media. One person tweeted: “This is a win for all those who spoke up and a major win to Trinbagonian people.” Another wrote: “The fact that MBJ is going back to the drawing board to rename is fantastic.”
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