Michael B. Jordan has stepped into the beverage game and introduced his new rum brand, J'Ouvert.
While it's an exciting new venture for the movie star, the news of his brand was met with cries of cultural appropriation on Sunday.
According to photos posted on Instagram, the rum box says it's, “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.”
Many people have criticized the star for trademarking the name, while having no apparent connection to the culture itself.
One user commented, "Someone point out Michael B Jordan’s Trini roots fast for me please!!! Cuz I’m not understanding this shit..."
"Michael B Jordan ever step foot on Trinidad soil? Yet he have a rum named Jouvert . Someone pls explain," another user shared.
This one had a suggestion for the future.
This person called out the star directly.
This user pointed out that the use of this name is harmful because it makes their culture "just an aesthetic to people."
In addition to claims of cultural appropriation, there is an intellectual property concern about whether a trademark would create problems in the future.
Newsday spoke with Minister of Trade and Industry of Trinidad and Tobago Paula Gopee-Scoon, who said the issue was "of extreme concern."
She said in a statement: "The first thing is to gather the information to see if it is in fact so. 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."
"This is of keen interest, not only to the Ministry of Trade and Industry but also to the intellectual property office of the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture," she continued. "We all have an interest. Trinidad and Tobago is our interest."
Michael has yet to release a statement about the controversy.
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