Michael B. Jordan apologizes and agrees to rename his rum brand after being accused of cultural appropriation

·2 min read
michael b jordan
Michael B. Jordan. Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET
  • Michael B. Jordan originally launched his rum brand under the name J'Ouvert.

  • Prominent members of the Caribbean community, including Nicki Minaj, criticized the name.

  • J'Ouvert is a phrase used in Caribbean culture to mark the start of Carnival season.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The "Black Panther" actor Michael B. Jordan said he was renaming his new rum brand after the original name was accused of appropriating Caribbean culture.

The 34-year-old actor launched his rum brand earlier this month under the name J'Ouvert. The name appeared to be borrowed from the phrase used on many Caribbean islands to mark the start of Carnival.

Jordan faced strong criticism from members of the Caribbean community, including the rapper Nicki Minaj, who was born in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, after it was uncovered that a business trademark had been filed for the name.

On Tuesday, in a post to his Instagram story, Jordan said he was "in the process of renaming" the rum.

"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 in an Instagram post. "Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations..."

He 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."

A screenshot of Michael B. Jordan's Instagram apology.
Jordan's apology. michaelbjordan/Instagram

Critics of the actor had been particularly angered by a line in Jordan's trademark filing that claimed the word J'Ouvert had "no meaning in a foreign language."

An online petition to stop the trademark reached 10,000 signatures before the actor's apology.

"The word J'Ouvert is deeply rooted in Trinbagonian and Caribbean culture," the petition said. "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."

Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon, told Trinidad and Tobago Newsday that the intellectual-property implications of Jordan's trademark filing were an issue "of extreme concern" and that her department would investigate.

Shortly before Jordan apologized, Minaj, who is from Trinidad, described the name as offensive and urged Jordan to reconsider.

"I'm sure MBJ didn't intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive," Minaj wrote in an Instagram post. "But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper."

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