Michael B. Jordan's new rum brand is drawing widespread criticism for cultural appropriation, including from Grammy-winner Nicki Minaj. The Black Panther star issued an apology Tuesday after being called out by the "Super Bass" artist for naming the rum brand J'Ouvert after the celebration of Caribbean culture held as part of Carnival in many Caribbean islands such as Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada.
Jordan's rum brand was officially launched over the weekend, according to photos the actor's girlfriend, Lori Harvey, shared to social media before deleting. "Congratulations on the launch of your rum baby!!! I'm so proud of you!!!" Harvey captioned the photos, as per screenshots of her Instagram before deleting. Many people, including Minaj, who is Trinidadian, came out to express their feelings about the company name.
The rapper reposted an explanation of the historical significance of why J'Ouvert is observed, calling on Jordan to consider changing his rum's name. The celebration originated in Trinidad with Canboulay, which was a time in which the sugarcane fields caught fire and the enslaved people were "still forced to harvest the remaining crops before complete destruction." While the event was reenacted and mocked by the enslavers when emancipation came, the freed people mocked their enslavers for the initial celebration, which became J'Ouvert.
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"I'm sure MBJ didn't intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive," the Queen rapper wrote alongside the historical repost Tuesday. "But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper." Soon, the rum's Instagram page went private, and Jordan took to his own Instagram Story to share that he had heard the criticism leveled against the name and was working to change the brand to something that would not be offensive.
"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," he wrote in a statement on his Story. "Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations." Jordan reiterated that the people who complained had been heard. "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."