Black Panther Actor Apologizes Amid Caribbean Cultural Appropriation Claims

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Michael B. Jordan, seen here in promotion of the launch of "Tom Clancy's Without Remorse," on April 29, 2021, has apologized for naming his rum brand, "J'Ouvert." (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

By NAN Staff Writers

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. June 24, 2021: Days after he was slammed for cultural appropriation over his recently launched rum, “J’Ouvert,” Black Panther” U.S. actor Michael B. Jordan has apologized and announced he will change the name.

J’Ouvert is the name of the first official day of Carnival festivities in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and its Diasporas. Carnival was introduced to Trinidad by French colonizers in 1783. Banned from the masquerade balls of the French, the enslaved people would stage their own mini-carnivals in their backyards – using their own rituals and folklore, but also imitating and sometimes mocking their masters’ behavior at the masquerade balls. The name J’Ouvert originates from the French jour ouvert, meaning daybreak or morning, and signals the start of Carnival.

On his Instagram page on Wednesday, Jordan, 34, issued an apology, saying he never meant to offend or hurt a culture he hoped to celebrate instead.

“Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning and engaging in countless community conversations,” he wrote. “We hear you. I hear you & want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming.”

Since the launch of Jordan’s rum over the weekend, Caribbean nationals, including Trinidad-born rapper Nicki Minaj, took to social media demanding a change in its name.

“I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean people would find offensive, but now that you are aware, change the name and continue to flourish and proper,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

The ignorance of Caribbean culture and the blow-back comes as Caribbean nationals in the US mark the 15th annual Caribbean American Heritage Month.