international rap icon Nicki Minaj has joined the call of many Trinbagonians, as well as the wider Caribbean, for Michael B Jordan to change the name of his J’ouvert rum.
The African American actor, best known for his role as Erik Killmonger on the widely acclaimed Black Panther movie, received much criticism after his girlfriend Lori Harvey posted the rum on her Instagram stories on Saturday.
She congratulated him on the launch of his new venture but what she did not know was the anger it would ignite among the Caribbean community.
Most triggering was the trademark application for the word "J’ouvert" to be used on the product per the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s website. The petition said that the word had "no meaning" in any language.
However, J'ouvert does, in fact, have a meaning. It is an integral aspect of Carnival in T&T where it originated and is French for "Opening of Day". It is a symbolic pre-dawn event introduced by ex-slaves after emancipation that today kicks off Carnival celebrations in the twin-island and has been exported around the globe as one of the popular Carnival concepts.
Jordan, who has been accused of cultural appropriation, has been asked to change the title of his rum by none other than Nicki Minaj, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago.
Minaj shared an Instagram post by a social media user who explained the history of J'ouvert. She captioned it: "I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive— but now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper. 🙏🏾🇹🇹 #jouvert".
All this while a petition has been started calling for Jordan to stop his attempts to trademark the name. Thus far, it has garnered close to 10,000 signatures.