AceShowbiz - Nicki Minaj has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the name of Michael B. Jordan's new rum brand. As the actor is accused of cultural appropriation for naming the brand J'Ouvert Rum, the rapper has come to his defense.
Reposting users' comment taking issue with the rum brand's name on her Instagram account, Nicki believes that Michael didn't intentionally mean to offend Caribbean people. "I'm sure MBJ didn't intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive," she captioned her post.
Still, the Trinidadian-born femcee suggested that Michael changes the name of his rum brand. "but now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper," she added in the caption, sending her well wishes to the actor.
The original comment shared by Nicki slammed the decision to name Michael's rum brand J'Ouvert Rum, which the user explained is "a broken down version of the French Jour Ouvert, the morning time referred to as day open." The event originated in Trinidad with the festivities of Canboulay and marks the start of the main Monday and Tuesday Carnival street parade events in Trinidad.
J'Ouvert, "also known as jouvay," was "later adopted by other Caribbean Islands as they experienced emancipation throughout different periods in history," the user noted. "Its not just about the name its what is represents pertaining to enslavement and freedom," she argued, before calling out Michael, "The ignorance is real!"
"Modern day j'ouvert may look fun to you because of all the music and mud and paint but if you knew anything about the vitality of trinbagonian people or west indian people it's that through all we been through we celebrate our past and ancestors with jubilation," another Twitter user pointed out. "just because a festival or aspect of our culture looks fun and inviting does NOT mean it's yours to take. everything here has a dark past but we make due in honour of those who came before us. respect it and leave it alone."
A third critic tweeted, "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 s**t. Is it his grandma who makes the rum cakes???"
The Minister of Trade and Industry in Trinidad and Tobago, Paula Gopee-Scoon, has commented on the controversy, stating that they will launch an investigation. "The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so," he stressed. "Then working together with the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, we'll do the necessary investigation..."
Michael launched J'Ouvert Rum on Sunday, June 20. The description on the box for the rum says it's "derived from the Antellian Creole French term meaning 'daybreak,' J'OUVERT originated in the pre-dawn streets of Trinidad, as a 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 started."
Following the backlash, the brand's official page has been made private while Michael and his girlfriend Lori Harvey have deleted all posts related to the launch from their social media pages.