Our Trinidadian sisters and brothers are not pleased with Michael B. Jordan today. The actor has stepped into the liquor industry with the launch of his new rum brand, J’ouvert. Michael B. Jordan’s choice to trademark the name has set the Trinidad and Tobago community aflame.
If you aren’t familiar with the term J’ouvert, it is a massive street festival held each year during Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago. It’s a word this community has used for years. Trini people everywhere are accusing the actor of cultural appropriation, profiting from a name with no real ties to their community or the islands. Some wonder if he has ever attended the street festival or contributed to the island in any way.
In his trademark, he included that the word has no meaning in any language. Trinidadians are livid.
Jordan’s latest business venture has not gotten the approval of the people he seems to be marketing the product for. The box details: “derives 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.”
Michael B. Jordan seems to be unfazed by the public’s reaction to his new rum brand. He has not yet commented on the criticism, though there are unconfirmed reports that his business partner is of Trinidadian descent.
Maybe having Jordan’s business partner involved in the release and marketing of this product might have gone over a bit better than him alone. Nonetheless, here’s how fans are reacting to him trademarking the word J’ouvert.
Now, the Caribbean community is hoping to educate Michael B. Jordan and the rest of the world on the meaning of J’ouvert to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
One person was angered enough to start a petition that already has over 12.5 signatures.
“We are not a powerless people!” Jay writes in a petition he created on Change.org. “We are a people rich in culture, history and love. It’s time we love ourselves enough to stop the sale of our culture to foreign entities that do not respect or value our global contributions, and who do not support and uphold our countries in respectful, long-lasting, tangible and verifiable ways!”
There are people sharing valuable history surrounding the term on social media like this man in a TikTok video.
Are people justified in their feelings toward Michael B. Jordan’s use of the word J’ouvert to profit with his new rum brand? Comment below with your thoughts.