Michael B. Jordan’s rum brand accused of cultural appropriation

A petition to stop Jordan's trademark of the name J'Ouvert has reached its goal of 10,000 signatures

Loading the player...

Michael B. Jordan is in some hot water. The internet is calling out the actor and his rum brand on social media for cultural appropriation.

Jordan has dived into the liquor business and launched his own rum brand. Pictures of the brand’s packaging, entitled J’Ouvert, landed on the internet and immediately got some backlash from his many fans and followers.

The name seemingly is inspired by J’Ouvert, an annual event held specifically in Trinidad and Tobago during Carnival. People seem to be disappointed in the actor for trademarking the name despite having no clear connections to the culture or event.

Michael B. Jordan thegrio.com
Michael B. Jordan attends the LA Community Screening Of Warner Bros Pictures’ “Just Mercy” at Cinemark Baldwin Hills on January 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Per Buzzfeed, pictures of the boxes made their way to Instagram in which the name is defined and described in a paragraph. It reads, “Derived from the Antellian Creole French term meaning ‘daybreak,’ J’OUVERT originated in the pre-dawn streets of Trinidad, as celebration of emancipation combined with Carnival season to serve as the festival informal commencements. Crafted on those same islands, J’OUVERT Rum is a tribute to the party start.”

Specifically calling out the way in which the celebration is used and described in the packaging, a Twitter user wrote, “Michael B. Jordan owns rum made in Trinidad? (I’m assuming “those same islands” mean Trinidad and Tobago? idk Chile).”

Another user seemed to agree, writing, “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???”

Plenty of people on social media have continued to call out the actor for profiting off of another culture and trademarking the event’s name. One popular tweet compared the situation to when Kim Kardashian infamously trademarked the name Kimono before she dropped her eventual shapewear line, Skims

They wrote, “Michael B Jordan got to trademark “j’ouvert” and it was allowed? When Kim K tried to trademark Kimono what happened?…”

The backlash has gained a significant amount of steam and has even led to a petition currently signed by over 10,000 people to stop Jordan from getting to trademark the culturally significant name.

Digital Strategist Leslie Mac shared the petition on Twitter, writing, “ICYMI Michael B Jordan has launched a rum brand called J’ouvert & has filed a trademark for the word J’ouvert. In his filing he says the word “has no meaning in any language” I am livid. Black Capitalism is still Capitalism. Sign the petition.”

The petition was launched earlier this week.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...