After facing cultural appropriation backlash for the name of his rum brand, American actor, Michael B. Jordan announced he plans on changing the name. The Black Panther star, 34, announced the news on social media earlier this week and said, "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."
The brouhaha was sparked after Jordan’s brand, J’Ouvert, had planned to trademark the word J’Ouvert, which is a term derived from the French “Jour ouvert, which means day break or morning and marks the beginning of Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and a few other Caribbean islands.
Legions of fans took offence to a line in the trademark filing which claimed "J'Ouvert" has "no meaning in any language". The trademark issue sparked countless debates on cultural appropriation and other issues including whether this country’s government should protect its culture from appropriation.
As the uproar intensified on social media, a petition on Change.org petition aiming to stop Jordan and his business partners from trademarking the word "J'Ouvert" collected more than 11,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
Trinidad born rapper, Nicki Minaj also addressed the controversy via social media in which she stated that Jordan was certain that Jordan wasn’t aware of the offence and that now that he is aware, he should consider changing the branding.
She stated on Instagram: "I'm sure MBJ didn't intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean people would find offensive - but now that you are aware, change the name and continue to flourish and prosper.”
Jordan has since apologised. "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, 34, wrote in a statement on his Instagram story Monday. "Last few days have been a lot of listening. A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations."
"Last few days have been a lot of listening. 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 renaming. We sincerely apologise and look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”
Jordan also noted that he had several conversations in the community and learning where the mistake was made. Jordan also revealed that he’d begun the process to rename the rum and provided a sincere apology.