Actor Michael B. Jordan is apologizing to the “woke” mob after the name of his new rum brand drew criticism and charges of cultural appropriation for its ties to Caribbean culture.
“I just wanna say on behalf of myself and my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture (we love and respect) and hoped to celebrate and shine a positive light on,” Jordan, 34, wrote in a statement on his Instagram story Monday, per USA Today. “Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations.”
Jordan recently launched his rum brand, “J’Ouvert,” which “is named after the annual celebration of Caribbean heritage that signals the beginning of Carnival and has ties to emancipation from slavery originating in Trinidad and Tobago. Critics argued Jordan should not be the face of the company without having any apparent connection to the Caribbean,” USA Today reported.
Rapper and singer Nicki Minaj reposted a discussion about the history of the term, noting that she was sure that Jordan “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.”
A petition called “Stop Michael B Jordan’s Trademark of J’OUVERT For His Rum!” on Change.org had received 12,479 signatures on Wednesday.
Buzzfeed reported that the rum box explained the name, saying, “Derived from the Antellian Creole French term meaning ‘daybreak,’ J’Ouvert originated in the pre-dawn streets of Trinidad, as celebrations of emancipation combined with Carnival season to serve as the festival’s informal commencements.”
“Crafted on those same islands, J’Ouvert Rum is a tribute to the ‘party start,’” it went on.
Due to the fact that Jordan apparently has no ties to Caribbean culture, critics jumped on his use of the term as a way of inappropriately adopting another culture’s customs rather than seeing it as a way to celebrate Caribbean culture and the traditions surrounding J’Ouvert.
Other celebrities have been at the center of cultural appropriation controversies in the past, including the Kardashian group with Kim Kardashian most recently being accused of using another culture when she posed for a photoshoot and incorporated a religious symbol.
As The Daily Wire reported, Kardashian did a photoshoot using all of the star’s KKW Beauty products, displaying some of the photos on Instagram and Twitter. The photos show Kardashian wearing lots of makeup with her hair in long braids. She also can be seen with a large silver nose ring and big silver earrings that portray the “om” symbol, a sacred syllable in the Hindu faith.
Some of Kardashian’s followers were not pleased with the businesswoman’s decision to incorporate the “om” symbol in her photoshoot, as noted by Fox News.
“Is now a good time to mention that the Om is a sacred symbol to Hindus and not just an accessory?” one user wrote.
Some came to her defense, however, writing, “Hang on folks … we believers in India wear OM pendants earrings and rings so Don’t [sic] think Kim’s caused any harm to our religious sentiments. Embracing Hinduism or any religion from the heart can only bless and empower,” another user chimed in.
Kardashian’s half-sister and model Kendall Jenner was also accused of cultural appropriation by members of the woke mob earlier this year when she started a tequila brand.
As The Daily Wire reported, “In an Instagram post, Jenner announced the launch of her tequila brand, 818 tequila, which is presumably named after the Calabasas, California, area code. Jenner said her tequila brand had already won eight awards, including best reposado at the World Tequila Awards.”
After she announced the brand, social media users criticized Jenner and accused her of culturally appropriating Mexican culture.
Other stars have been accused of inappropriately using the traditions and customs of other cultures, including Justin Bieber, who was notably criticized for wearing dreadlocks.
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