Branding Gone Wrong: Jackie Aina Receives Backlash For Capitalising On #EndSARS’ ‘Soro Soke’
Beauty YouTuber and Nigerian-American influencer , Jackie Aina who is based in America recently released her latest Forvr Mood candle collection and Nigerians did not take it so well. She named this collection the ‘Owambe collection’ and names each different scents a Nigerian slang so it seems “culturally inclined”.
While the brand’s past collections have included cheekily titled scents like “Thotumn” (cinnamon and buttery caramel) and the Halloween-inspired “Trickery” (candy corn), the names in this year’s collection are supposedly homages to her Nigerian heritage: ‘Soft Life’, ‘spice of life’, ‘No Wahala’ and ‘Soro Soke’. Soro Soke in Yoruba means to ‘speak up’ or ‘speak louder’ and it became very popular in 2020 during the EndSARS protest.
This phrase was used as a rallying cry during the #EndSars social movement in 2020, which called for an end to police brutality. People online are calling out the fact that Aina, who is Nigerian American, did not post or speak out publicly on the matter at the time. They are accusing her of promoting Nigerian culture only when it is convenient for her, for profit.
As one tweet reads, “Dear Non-Nigerians, The reason why this is receiving so much backlash is because Jackie Aina shamelessly named one of the candles It was one of the rallying cries during EndSars. But Jackie was notably silent during the protests.”
Critics have claimed that not only was she silent, but she also blocked people who asked her to lend a voice. Aina has spoken up before, talking about not wanting to feel like she has to be an “industry attack dog” or the voice people are always looking for.
One fan said, “As a long term Jackie Aina fan, I’m so disappointed at how tone deaf this is. I didn’t even know she refused to shed light on the end sars movement till I saw several tweets about it today. And using Soro Soke as a candle name when it was the rallying cry for the movement?? 0/10.”
Aina has since apologized on her Instagram and has since pulled the product. “As the brand owner of Forvr Mood, I understand our decision has severely hurt members of my Nigerian community with the naming of the candle Soro Soke. We missed the mark on this and it will never happen again.”