Michael B. Jordan has finally issued a statement following all of the criticism over his new rum brand, which comes after Nicki Minaj and others online called for him to change its name.
On Tuesday, June 22, the Black Panther star took to his Instagram Story to apologize for naming his new rum brand J‘Ouvert following accusations that the name appropriated Caribbean culture, subsequently causing hysteria all over social media.
“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 on his story. “Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations...”
Jordan went on to explain that the brand will be renamed just as everyone is suggesting.
“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.”
This apology from the Creed star comes following Michael B. Jordan’s girlfriend, Lori Harvey, posted photos from an apparent launch party over the weekend, congratulating him on the new business venture. Unfortunately, once people familiar with Caribbean culture noticed the name of his new company, the backlash began.
A proud Trinidadian herself, Nicki Minaj was one of the people to call attention to the disrespectful nature of J‘Ouvert’s name, joining in on the consensus that Jordan should name his rum brand something else.
Prior to his apology on Tuesday, she reposted a message about the event’s cultural significance and urged the actor to rename his rum. Still, she defended him in the process and argued that he probably didn’t mean any harm.
“I‘m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive,” the rapper wrote. “But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.”
Fans across social media were immediately concerned about the J‘Ouvert name, which has been deeply rooted in traditional Caribbean and Trinidadian culture going back to the 1800s. The term signifies the start of Carnival, a celebration that signaled the end of slavery for many people within the Caribbean at that time.
Critics online took particular offense to MBJ’s trademark filing for the rum brand, which stated that the word “J’OUVERT” has “no meaning in a foreign language.“ That discovery is when backlash really started pouring in across social media, with some accusing the actor of profiting off a culture he has no connection to.