Michael B. Jordan has heard the objections to his new J’Ouvert liquor and has pledged to rename the brand to something “we can all be proud of.” The change in direction arrives after a firestorm of cultural appropriation accusations against Jordan — who named the rum after a Caribbean carnival — including from Nicki Minaj.
Late Tuesday night, the “Creed” star took to Instagram to address the controversy and apologize for the contentious name.
“I just wanna say on behalf of myself & my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture (we love & respect) and hoped to celebrate & shine a positive light on,” Jordan wrote. “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,” he continued. “We sincerely apologize & look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”
One of the rum brand’s many critics was none other than Minaj. Earlier on Tuesday, the rapper, who hails from Trinidad, reposted statements from artist Xaria Rae’ Roxburgh that denounced the brand’s name and explained the meaning of J’Ouvert.
What Jordan and his team apparently failed to realize ahead of the brand’s launch earlier this month is that for many people of Caribbean descent, like Minaj, the name was a case of cultural appropriation, not appreciation. One Twitter user said they were “livid” over the situation, while another accused the actor of “colonizer energy.”
J’Ouvert is an annual celebration that dates back over 200 years and commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Trinidad and Tobago. However, Jordan himself does not have any ties to the region. To add insult to injury, the name was not only trademarked, but the trademark listing claimed, “the wording ‘J’OUVERT’ has no meaning in a foreign language.”
In her post, Minaj clarified that she did not believe Jordan would “intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean people would find offensive.” Instead, now that he’s aware of the reference’s implications, Minaj said she hoped Jordan would change the name and continue to “flourish & prosper.”