Nicki Minaj was among those asking the actor to change the brand’s name.
In the Caribbean culture, J’Ouvert is a festival held annually during Carnival in places like Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada. It is also the name of Michael B. Jordan’s new rum brand, which did not sit well with many, including Nicki Minaj.
On Tuesday, Jordan responded to the criticism by taking to his Instagram Stories with an apology and a plan to try and make things right.
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“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. “Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations…”
He assured his followers that he and his partners have heard the criticism and they are responding. “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.”
The initial outcry began after media reports began circulating that Jordan’s girlfriend, Lori Harvey, had posted images from what appeared to be a launch party for the new brand, including its original name.
When word came out that Jordan had filed to trademark the term, as noted by ET, the outcry intensified. Especially as it included the claim that the word has “no meaning in any language.” That’s far from the truth.
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While usually celebrated with jubilation, those celebrations are tied to the emancipation of enslaved peoples, thus holding a much deeper meaning to the cultures and communities participating. A change.org petition was launched to try and have Jordan’s filing dismissed.
Minaj, who is Trinadadian, was among those who voiced their concerns about the festival name being used to brand rum. On June 22, she shared a message explaining the cultural significance and history of J’Ouvert, and like the petition, her intent seemed to be to educate Jordan and urge him to make a change.
She accompanied that with a message for Jordan, writing, “I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive. but now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.”
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