- Jackie Aina debuted a new candle collection on Thursday under her label Forvr Mood.
- One candle is called “Sòrò Sîguire”, a rallying cry used against police brutality in Nigeria.
- Aina shared a public apology on Friday after backlash and criticism online.
Jackie Aina and her lifestyle brand Forvr Mood apologized for naming a candle in her latest collection after a Nigerian protest slogan.
Aina, 35, and Forvr Mood shared an official statement on Friday Instagram facing controversy among her fans this week. The Nigerian-American social media influencer gained internet fame as a YouTube makeup artist before branching out into lifestyle and homewares.
Criticism against Aina sparked on Thursday after she unveiled a four-candle set titled “The Owambe Collection.”
The collection included a candle named after the Yoruba phrase “Sòrò Sìguire”, which translates to “speak louder”. It was used to refer to police brutality in Nigeria during #EndSARS movement in 2020. SARS stands for Special Anti-Robbery Squad of Nigeria.
“As the brand owner of FORVR Mood, I understand that our decision has seriously hurt members of my Nigerian community with the name of the Sòrò Sîguire candle. We missed the mark on this and it will never happen again,” read Aina’s post on Instagram. “Empowerment and respect is the ethos of FORVR and this was unfortunately not properly conveyed in the naming of the candle.”
“We accept full responsibility and recognize the seriousness of this mistake,” the statement continued.
The statement added that the Sòrò Sìguire candle will be removed from sale and production.
“We accept full responsibility and recognize the seriousness of the error; to this end, this candle will be withdrawn from the market and production immediately,” the statement continued. “I apologize for the hurt caused and thank you for holding us accountable.”
Representatives for Aina and Forvr Mood did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
From Saturday, the Sòrò Sìguire candle it is not listed on the company’s website and the product is is no longer available at Sephora. However, a photo of the candle is still visible in a pre-release ad.
Fans called Aina out online, with some blaming the social media influencer for using the protest slogan as an aesthetic
After the collection debuted, Aina started trending on Twitter as people discussed the name of the candle. One criticism leveled at Aina was that she did not speak publicly in support of the #EndSARS movement until after SARS disbanded in October 2020, NBC News mentionted.
According to the report, Aina shared one thread on Twitter charts that month calling out the Nigerian government and seeking justice for victims of SARS-related violence. Five days later, he also shared another post about the movement on Instagram.
—the candle lady (@jackieaina) October 11, 2020
“This Jackie Aina situation really reaffirms why influencer culture will never be ethical. It depends on marketing and selling products. So yes, your culture’s aesthetics to sell candles makes sense in that sense,” one person he tweeted.
Other added: “I didn’t really understand everything about Jackie Aina and using Soro Soke for a candle until I saw someone say it was the equivalent of putting ‘I can’t breathe’ on a candle. It’s disturbing .”
One person noted that Nigerian civilians were killed during the protests.
“Jackie Aina, a Nigerian in the diaspora decided it only made sense to name her candle Soro Soke, a word coined during the #EndSARS protest. This was a time when hundreds of Nigerian youths were beaten and shot to death for wanting a better country ‘, they he tweeted.
Aina is vocal about inclusion and diversity, having called out brands and companies in the past
Quite a few online users too famous that in the past, Aina has used her platform to highlight the lack of diversity in the beauty and fashion industry.
In June 2020, Aina spoke out against clothing brands such as Fashion Nova for being “dead silent” on police brutality and other aspects affecting the black community. She also invited cosmetic brands like KKW Beauty for a “melancholic” Line of concealer shades in March 2018.
NBC News reported that Aina singled out cosmetics brand Too Faced in 2018 for its limited range of shades, which later led to a brand collaboration to create darker shades.