Actor Michael B. Jordan has issued an apology regarding his new liquor brand following some high-profile complaints.
The “Creed” actor recently launched a line of rum called called J’Ouvert, joining the many celebs who have gotten into the spirits industry.
But the name quickly drew complaints of cultural appropriation because it reportedly refers to both the Antillean Creole French term meaning “daybreak” and an annual festival held in Trinidad and Tobago and other locations to celebrate Caribbean culture and emancipation from slavery during Carnival.
Rapper Nicki Minaj, who is Trinidadian, posted a screen shot of an explanation of the history of J’Ouvert on her verified Instagram account, writing in the caption “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.”
Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon told Trinidad and Tobago Newsday her office was interested in looking at whether Jordan had trademarked the name.
“This is of keen interest, not only to the Ministry of Trade and Industry but also to the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. We all have an interest,” she said. “Trinidad and Tobago is our interest.”
It all led to Jordan posting a statement on his verified Instagram account in which he wrote “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.”
“Last few days has been a lot of listening,” he wrote. “A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations.”
“We hear you,” Jordan reiterated.
“I hear you and want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming,” he wrote. “We sincerely apologize and look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”