Michael B. Jordan is accused of cultural appropriation because of his new rum line J’Ouvert.
The French Creole word refers to the annual indigenous festivals that have been held in Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada during Carnival since the 19th century. On the packaging of J’Ouvert it says: “Derived from the French Creole term Antellian, which means ‘daybreak’, J’OUVERT was created in the streets of Trinidad before dawn in order to combine emancipation with the carnival season as the informal start of the festival to celebrate. Produced on the same islands, J’OUVERT rum pays homage to the start of the party. “
But social media has criticized the LA-born actor for trying to protect the name despite having no obvious connection to Caribbean culture.
In addition, the trademark application claims that “the phrase ‘J’OUVERT’ has no meaning in a foreign language”.
Amid the backlash, over 10,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org calling for the trademark application to be rejected.
“We are not a powerless people!” Writes the organizer of the petition, Jay Blessed. “We are a people rich in culture, history and love. It is time we love ourselves enough to stop selling our culture to overseas corporations who do not respect or value our global contributions and who do not support and defend our countries in a respectful, lasting, tangible and verifiable way! “
The petition also calls on Jordan “to do the right thing by calling this a loss!”
You know what I want? A public apology to the people of T&T and the Caribbean at large @ michaelb4jordan Scott Williams, @AngosturaHouse, Louis Shaffer and everyone hiding behind the scenes #JouvertRum Scandal!
– JAY BLESSED (r) ️ (@JAYBLESSED) June 22, 2021
Nicki Minaj, born in Trinidad and Tobago, also got himself into the controversy by sharing a “history lesson” explaining the true meaning of J’Ouvert while he was playing the Creed Star to change the name of his rum.
“I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do something that he thought Caribbean people would find offensive,” the rapper “Seeing Green” wrote, “but now that you know, change the name and keep thriving and thrive. “