The biggest Hollywood actors have inadvertently made it tradition to put their names on alcohol brands. Ryan Reynolds has Aviation Gin, George Clooney has Casamigos Tequila, Matthew McConaughey has his Wild Turkey Longbranch Bourbon and Danny DeVito has his name on his own Limoncello. Creed 3 and Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan was set to join the liquor brand game himself until he was called out for culturally appropriating his rum label – even by rapper and pop star Nicki Minaj.
Michael B. Jordan recently launched his line of rum called J’Ouvert, but following the backlash, he has decided he will rename the brand something else. In an apology on his social media, Jordan shared regret over offending fans from Trinidad and Tobago. Before we get to the apology itself, let’s talk about what’s been going down.
What Is Michael B. Jordan’s Rum Brand?
Michael B. Jordan’s rum line is called J'Ouvert, which is a French phrase meaning “opening of the day.” The word is also associated with a traditional carnival in the Caribbean that begins right before sunrise and continues into the morning. The name for the brand was apparently chosen since the rum itself is crafted on the same islands where the carnival was born and as a “tribute to the party start.”
Why Is Jordan’s Brand Being Criticized?
Caribbean people have been taking issue with Michael B. Jordan’s rum brand name because for one, he does not have any ties to this culture. People from the region were bothered that he would trademark J'Ouvert when the name holds a strong meaning to them. Nicki Minaj spoke out about the issue, sharing this post to Instagram:
As she shared, Nicki Minaj didn’t believe the Black Panther star intentionally hurt Caribbean people with the rum line, but she felt it was important to share the importance and why people were getting upset. Back in the 1800s, the celebration had roots in landowners gathering and imitating their slaves working in the sugarcanes. Once the slaves were freed, they started celebrating J'Ouvert, and there were fears of his brand commercializing the term away from its initial meaning and culturally appropriating it.
Michael B. Jordan’s Apology And Response
Following Nicki Minaj and many others calling out the rum brand, Michael B. Jordan has broken his silence. He posted this on his Instagram:
The actor shared he has been “listening” and “learning” following the backlash, and now plans to rename the brand with a new (but undecided) name that he and his partners can be proud of. The Without Remorse actor has made inclusion and diversity a cornerstone of his career thus far. In between this tricky situation, the actor is set to direct and star in Creed III coming out in 2022.