Michael B. Jordan has apologized and promised to rename his newly unveiled rum brand after online backlash over the name.
34-year-old Jordan wrote in a statement on his Instagram story yesterday (June 22) about the name which stems from Caribbean culture, “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. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations… We hear you. I hear you & want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming. We sincerely apologize & look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”
Jordan’s beau Lori Harvey recently publicly congratulated him for the launch of his rum brand, J’Ouvert (pronounced “jou-vay”), which caused online scrutiny to gain momentum. The brand is named after the annual celebration of Caribbean heritage that signals the beginning of Carnival and has ties to emancipation from slavery originating in Trinidad and Tobago. Jordan was blasted online that he shouldn’t be the face of a company without having any connection to the Caribbean.
Nicki Minaj, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, was among those who called on Jordan to reconsider renaming the rum brand, writing in an Instagram post Tuesday (June 22) that she was, “…sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive,” but called on him to “change the name & continue to flourish & prosper. 🙏🏾🇹🇹 #jouvert” now that he was aware.
The rum line’s offense called for a Change.org petition aiming to stop Jordan and his business partners from trademarking the word “J’Ouvert,” collecting more than 12,000 signatures as of today (June 23.)
This isn’t the first time a celebrity alcohol brand came under fire as of late for cultural appropriation — Kendall Jenner was criticized heavily just last month for her tequila brand 818 — where she was accused of darkening her skin tone in the campaign photos.