Michael B. Jordan found himself in hot water after unveiling his new rum company, J’Ouvert Rum, which shares the name of a Caribbean celebration that marks the start of Carnival.
The Black Panther star was accused of cultural appropriation and, on Tuesday, Trinidadian-born rapper Nicki Minaj called on Jordan to make things right.
Taking to Instagram to share the meaning behind J’Ouvert, the Grammy-nominated rapper announced that she is giving Jordan the benefit of doubt that he was not aware of the potential controversy.
“I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive,” she captioned the photo before tasking the Emmy-nominee to step up. “But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.”
The infographic explains J’Ouvert originated in Trinidad during a time “when sugarcane fields caught on fire and slaves were still forced to harvest the [remaining] crops before complete destruction.”
“That event was reenacted and male slaves were mocked by their masters. However after emancipation the slaves mocked the masters mocking them,” the picture explained, noting that the tradition spread throughout the Caribbean islands following emancipation.
Since Jordan announced his new rum company, a Change.org petition amassed over 11,000 signatures demanding a name change.
The Creed actor responded to the backlash Wednesday and confirmed he is “in the process of renaming” the brand.
“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 and shine a positive light on,” Jordan wrote via Instagram story. “Last few days has been a lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations.”
“We hear you. I hear you,” he continued, saying he looks “forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”
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