Celebrating her 35th birthday and her lifestyle brand’s Forvr Mood second anniversary, Jackie Aina released her four-piece Owambe candle collection. The candle collection was said to honor and respect the influencer’s Nigerian heritage, but Twitter users feel otherwise.
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Welcome to Owambe! We are celebrating life and inviting you all to be a part of it. The collection features 4 new fragrances: Sòrò Sókè, No Wahala, Soft Life and Spice of Life. All candles are available NOW on our website and @sephora !!! pic.twitter.com/DUjwKDkcjK
— FORVR MOOD (@Forvrmood) August 4, 2022
The candle collection collaborates with Cameroonian American fashion designer Claude Kameni, who draws inspiration from Nigerian culture.
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Kameni told WWD that her design process for this collection started by looking at Yoruba culture for colors and patterns used in Nigerian culture. Aina and Kameni agreed on circular patterns, rich colors and dark orange.
“I am mostly inspired by bold, vibrant prints and the Nigerian culture because we’re all one,” Kameni said. “When Jackie and her team reached out to me to work on this project, I was super excited because this is my niche, and this is what I do. I knew I could get this to be the best thing she has ever seen,” she said.
The candles come in four fragrances, Sòrò Sókè, No Wahala, Soft Life and Spice of Life. Twitter users are negatively responding to the candle titled Sòrò Sókè.
The word Sòrò Sókè is reminiscent of a tragic and dark period in Nigeria’s history. During the End SARS protest, a fight against police brutality in major cities and towns, many young adults and teens held up signs with the slogan ‘Sòrò Sókè’ on them, which means to speak louder or speak up.
It’s possible that the incident has been misconstrued or might also be an oversight issue on Aina’s part, who neglected the history and context of words chosen for her candle scents.
“This was the first time since we launched this brand where, although all of our collections, the imagery, and the brand message have Black excellence written all over it, this was the first time that I wanted to do a collection that was really inspired by my Nigerian heritage,” Aina said.
“I started to look at what scents that remind me of home and the scents that remind me of being around my Nigerian family,” she continued. “I’m African American, and I’m also Nigerian, so these are two very different cultures, so I really wanted to pull it in and have visual references and cultural references that just remind me of the beauty of African excellence.”
Many on social media call the makeup influencer a mean person and culture vulture arguing that she failed to consider what the word means to the Nigerian youth.
Many Ends SARS protesters were arrested, while some may still be in prison.
One Twitter user held nothing back when expressing her feelings, while others co-signed their disappointment in Aina.
“The same Jackie Aina that blocked everyone who begged her to lend a voice to the #EndSARS protest is now playing Nigerian dress-up party and trying to profit off the phrase that memorializes the unjust death and suffering of innocent Nigerians. You can’t make this shit up,” one user tweeted.
The same Jackie Aina that blocked everyone who begged her to lend a voice to the #EndSARS protest is now playing Nigerian dress up party and trying to profit off the phrase that memorializes the unjust death and suffering of innocent Nigerians
You can’t make this shit up https://t.co/el7b44OE7J
— Uche🍸 (@Uchenna_ap) August 5, 2022
Imagine using the suffering and deaths of people for commercial purposes. A movement you didn’t even recognize but now you’re using it to push a fucking candle?!! How does Sòrò Sókè candle smell like? Blood and bullets??
Shame on you @jackieaina! 🤮 https://t.co/S2SKKRxhtq
— 🦄 Daughter of Mt Zion BusStop 🏾 (@rachie_archi) August 5, 2022
Jackie Aina knows EXACTLY what she’s doing.
That woman has been creating content for 15+ years.
She most likely planned for all of this backlash (which is just free promo to her) and already has an apology/retraction waiting.
At least now, more Nigerians know her candles. Shame.
— Dodo (@dodobabs_) August 5, 2022
And what’s sending me is that, as a long term Jackie Aina fan, I *KNOW* she’d be one of the first people to drag a brand for exploiting the BLM movement for coins. Especially for something as shallow as candles 😭💀 So, honestly, she should have had more sense. This is so vile
— PB (@Namndhela) August 5, 2022
Scented candles are supposed to give off comfort and amazing fragrance vibes. No one in the branding team told her that Soro Soke is far from comfort, it represents pain from EndSARS but I’m sure Jackie Aina thought oh it’s a Nigerian popping slang, a trend…Naija to the world 😭
— BDM🦅 (@Blackdotmandy) August 5, 2022
Jackie Aina is a terrible person so she’s going to be rich forever
— 🕺🏾 (@shOoObz) August 5, 2022
While some think it’s the perfect marketing tactic for Aina, others feel everyone is overly sensitive. What do you think?