Access Denied, Okurrr? Cardi B Turned Down for a Trademark on Her Signature Phrase

Illustration for article titled Access Denied, Okurrr? Cardi B Turned Down for a Trademark on Her Signature Phrase
Photo: Anthony DelMundo-Pool (Getty Images)

Cardi B may have brought the catchphrase “okurrr” into the mainstream (and even into the Super Bowl ad echelon, via Pepsi), but like Madonna and voguing, she did not originate the concept—a fact recognized by Bronx natives, members of the drag and ballroom communities, and now, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


As reported by the Guardian, the raptress was denied her application to trademark her now-signature phrase, which she’d hoped to further commodify by using it on “t-shirts, sweatshirts, hooded sweatshirts, pants, shorts, jackets, footwear, headgear, namely hats and caps, blouses, bodysuits, dresses, jumpsuits, leggings, shirts, sweaters and undergarments” [h/t Rolling Stone].

But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office isn’t validating Cardi’s claim to the phrase, which it astutely observed is a “commonplace term, message, or expression widely used by a variety of sources that merely conveys an ordinary, familiar, well-recognized concept or sentiment.” Of particular note is the office’s observation that the expression is “commonly used in the drag community and by celebrities as an alternate way of saying ‘OK’ or something that is said to affirm when someone is being put in their place.”

Okurrr, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Come through with the pop-cultural relevance—which included references to both RuPaul and Khloe Kardashian using the phrase. (On Khloe: Does that mean she appropriated Cardi’s appropriation, or...?)

As much as we’ve given Cardi cred on her Cinderella-like come up and enjoy her unique iteration of the phrase, we’re going to consider this particular ruling a rightful win for the LGBTQ community, who has given pop culture so much, with little credit (or respect) given in return. Besides, last time we checked, the “Press” rapper has more pressing legal matters to attend to, as she’s still facing trial in September for 2018 assault charges.

In this crazy thing called life, you win some, and you lose some, okurrr?

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



i’m glad they didn’t let cardi trademark wasn’t hers to claim. i’m just giving a little side eye to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office who let a white woman damn near own the word kimono. keep the same energy, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office!!