Michael B. Jordan apologises for rum brand's controversial name, announces plans to rename it
Washington [US], June 23 (ANI): American actor-producer Michael B. Jordan addressed concerns expressed by rapper Nicki Minaj and other social media users over the name of his rum brand after coming under fire.
The 'Black Panther' actor apologised for calling his new rum brand J'Ouvert after accusations that the name appropriated Caribbean culture. He also announced that he will be changing the name of his rum brand.
On Wednesday, the star took to his Instagram Story to issue an apology and make the announcement about renaming the brand.
He wrote, "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 and engaging in countless community conversations."
The 34-year-old actor went on to say that the brand will be renamed in light of the outcry.
"We hear you. 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," he further wrote.
Scrutiny of the brand began after Michael's girlfriend, Lori Harvey, posted images from an apparent launch party for J'Ouvert rum over the weekend and congratulated him on the new business venture, reported E! News.
J'Ouvert is a festival highlighting Caribbean culture and held annually in Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada during Carnival, along with being observed worldwide.
Among the social media users voicing their issues with the name was Nicki, who is Trinidadian. On Tuesday, she reposted a message about the event's cultural significance and urged the actor to rename his rum brand.
"I'm sure MBJ didn't intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive," the rapper wrote.
She added, "But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish and prosper."
The liquor brand's trademark for the name J'Ouvert, which was filed last September under a third party, has also sparked controversy.
A Change.org petition, which has amassed more than 10,000 signatures, criticised the trademark filing, which read in part, "The wording 'J'OUVERT' has no meaning in a foreign language."
"We are not a powerless people! We are a people rich in culture, history and love," a statement read on the petition.
The petition also asked Michael "to do the right thing by calling this a loss." Following the backlash, the Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon told Newsday the ordeal was "of extreme concern."
"The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so," Paula 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," Paula added.
Meanwhile, on the film front, Michael is all set to make his directorial debut with 'Creed III', which is set to be released in theaters on November 23, 2022. He will also star in and produce the film.
Apart from the upcoming 'Creed' installment, the actor will also feature in the Denzel Washington-directed 'Journal for Jordan'. (ANI)