The latest black star to come under a stir for CA is our favorite actor Michael B Jordan. Jordan is known from films and series such as Raising Dion, The Creed, Black Panther and BlacKout. After criticism from Nicki Minaj, amongst others and the government of Trinidad and Tobago itself the actor is scrapping the name J’Ouvert intentioned for his new liquor brand.
The term “J’Ouvert” originates from the French word for daybreak and the term signals the start of carnival in the Caribbean which is a cornerstone of tradition in Trinidad and Tobago. It’s usage for the start of the carnival in the Caribbean dates back to the 1800s therefore Jordan’s use of the word was felt by many to be cultural appropriation.
Critics were particularly angered by a line in Jordan’s trademark filing that claimed the term has “no meaning in a foreign language”. An online petition to stop the trademark had already topped 12,000 signatures and the government of the islands also expressed deep concern over the plan.
Singer Nicki Minaj, who originates from Trinidad, urged Jordan to change the “offensive” name on Tuesday; later that day Jordan posted an apology on his Instagram stories.
“Last few days has been a lot of listening. A lot of learning & engaging in countless community conversations …”
“We hear you. I hear you & want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming. We sincerely apologize & look forward to introducing a brand we can all be proud of.”
Other black profiles who has been accused of appreciation and even black face is Beyoncé (Hmn for the weekend, Black is King, L’Officiel Paris cover etc), Pharrell (Elle cover) and Drake (The story of Adidon album cover).
This goes to show you that even black people can appropriate other black people’s culture and even do black face! We as black people can also appropriate indigenous culture as well as other cultures. Even though it’s more likely that our cultures are appropriated by others and to me is a more critical thing as black people have a history with severe oppression and being demonized for our culture and (ethnic) traditions. CA and black face can be a racist act and even stereotypical.
However one should always be respectful and thoughtful of others cultures, traditions and heritage. Listening, understanding and relearning is crucial for a world where all is being seen and heard on social media where the climate isn’t always so constructive and progressive.