Michael B. Jordan has apologized and vowed to rename his newly unveiled rum brand, J’Ouvert, following blacklash after his initial announcement.
The name refers to the commencement of carnival in the Caribbean and has ties to emancipation from slavery in Trinidad and Tobago. Critics felt that Jordan’s use of the word was cultural appropriation, especially after discovering a line in Jordan’s trademark filing that said the name has “no meaning in a foreign language,” and argued that Jordan should not be leading the company without having any connection to the Caribbean.
A Change.org petition to prohibit Jordan and his team from trademarking the word “J’Ouvert” received more than 12,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
“I just wanna say on behalf of myself & my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture (we love & respect) & hoped to celebrate & shine a positive light on,” he wrote. “Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations …”
“We hear you,” he continued. “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 is not the only celebrity to come under fire as of late. On Tuesday, Billie Eilish apologized after a video resurfaced of her mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur when she was “13 or 14” years old.