Michael B. Jordan Is Renaming His Rum Brand Amid Cultural Appropriation Criticism

"Our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture we love and respect."

Actor Michael B. Jordan has announced he will rename his rum brand, J'Ouvert, following accusations of cultural appropriation.

Leon Bennett / FilmMagic

According to photos posted from its launch party over the weekend, the rum is advertised as a "tribute" to J'Ouvert, the annual Caribbean carnival celebration.

Instagram: @loriharvey

"Derived from the Antellian Creole French term meaning 'daybreak,' J'Ouvert originated in the pre-dawn streets of Trinidad, as celebrations of emancipation combined with Carnival season to serve as the festival's informal commencements," reads the rum's box.

"Crafted on those same islands, J'Ouvert Rum is a tribute to the 'party start.'"

But many took issue with the Black Panther star using — and trademarking — the name while having no apparent personal connection to the region.

What’s next? A free doubles with every #JouvertRum purchase?! 🥴😭 someone point out Michael B Jordan’s Trini roots fast for me please!!! Cuz I’m not understanding this shit. Is it his grandma who makes the rum cakes???

imagine trying to explain what jouvert is to someone and they go “oh michael b jordan rum” 😕 https://t.co/kmTtYuBRYb

Twitter: @spxcyy

Michael B Jordan never been to jouvert or mass. But has the nerve to want to profit off West Indian culture and call it Jouvert Rum….

Twitter: @_iamdda

In a statement to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon said the issue was "of extreme concern."

"The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so," she said. "Then working together with the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, we'll do the necessary investigation and, as always, seek to support anything that is Trinidad but at the same time protect what is ours."

A petition to stop Jordan from trademarking the name has so far garnered almost 12,000 signatures.

On Tuesday rapper Nicki Minaj, who is Trinidadian, called for Jordan to change the brand's name in an Instagram post detailing the significant cultural history of the festival.

"I’m sure MBJ didn't intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive," Minaj wrote. "But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper."

Just a few hours later, Jordan posted a statement to his own Instagram story apologizing for causing offense and announcing he and his business partners would be renaming the brand.

Valerie Macon / AFP via Getty Images

"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," Jordan wrote.

"Last few days has been a lot of listening," he went on. "A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations."

"We hear you," he said. "I hear you and want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming."

"We sincerely apologize and look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of," Jordan concluded his statement.

Theo Wargo / WireImage



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.