After recently celebrating the launch of his new liquor brand, Michael B. Jordan was accused of appropriating Caribbean culture by naming the product J’Ouvert.
Over the weekend, the Black Panther star’s girlfriend, Lori Harvey, shared photos from an apparent launch party for a rum called J’Ouvert. “Congratulations on the launch of your rum baby!!! I’m so proud of you!!!” Lori captioned an Instagram Story photo of Michael at the gathering, according to screenshots shared on social media.
However, many took social media to express their disappointment with the 34-year-old actor’s company name, including Nicki Minaj. Some have even accused the brand of cultural appropriation.
Traditionally, J’Ouvert is a festival that celebrates Caribbean culture. In addition to being held annually in Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada during Carnival, it’s also celebrated worldwide.
On Instagram, Nicki, who is Trinidadian, re-posted the historical significance of why J’Ouvert is observed and called on Michael to consider changing the brand’s moniker.
“I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive,” the Queen rapper captioned her post on Tuesday, June 22. “but now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.”
“please tell me michael b jordan did not trademark the word jouvert. please let this be a joke. please please please no,” another person expressed, with someone else adding, “I suggest Michael B. Jordan take that L. There’s no way you’re trade marking Jouvert bro.”
According to screenshots from the brand event, the packaging for the rum included a message about J’Ouvert’s history.
“Derived from the Antillean 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 informal commencement,” a statement read. “Crafted on those same islands, J’OUVERT Rum is a tribute to the ‘party start.'”
At this time, Michael has yet to publicly address the controversy surrounding the product. Additionally, the brand’s Instagram page has been set to private and the website is password protected.