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Can Cardi B really copyright ‘Okurr’?

The Grammy-winning rapper explained on a talk show that she invented the phrase. Even though other people used the term before her.

Name: Okurr. Or Okurrr.

Sounds like: “Okay”, but with a rolled, squeaky pigeon chirp in place of the “ay”.

Age: Well, that’s hard to be sure about.

How come? Okurr is just a fun, silly way of saying OK, made famous by Cardi B.

The Grammy-winning rapper from the Bronx? That’s her. She gets her name from the popular alcoholic drink Bacardi, you know.

turally. Anyway, Cardi B loves saying “okurr”, and explaining how to say “okurr”, as she did to the chat-show host Jimmy Fallon and in Pepsi’s Superbowl commercialthis year.

So she’s come up with a catchphrase? Like Beyoncé’s “I woke up like this”? Or when Taylor Swift tried to trademark “This sick beat”? Well she didn’t invent “okurr”. It may just be a funny habit that some people always had. It’s a bit like “whassup?” Remember that?

Vaguely. But didn’t “okurr” start with Mr Mackey, the school counsellor on South Park?He said “M’kay”, which is perhaps an ancestor of “okurr”.

Ah. The first properly recorded “okurr” that we know of came in 2010, in a series of YouTube sketches by Laura Bell Bundy, featuring a ghetto hairdresser called Shocantelle Brown. They’re funny.

Whoa! I just watched one. It’s like someone doing a Cardi B impression before Cardi B.Yup. Then there’s Jay Jackson, or Laganja Estranja, who liked to say “okurr” as a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2014.

Right. But now Cardi B has filed an application to the US Patent and Trademark Office to prevent anyone but her using “okurr” for commercial purposes. She plans to print it on paper goods “namely paper cups and posters”, as well as on clothing.

Is that fair? I mean, she wasn’t the first to use the word, or even to make it popular. That has been pointed out to Cardi B.

And what’s her response? You think I ain’t going to profit off this shit? Bitch, white folks do it all the the motherfucking time, so you going to be mad at me because I want some motherfucking money?” she said.

I like her honesty. Didn’t she already profit quite a lot from the Pepsi commercial, though? I expect she did, but still she says this is her intellectual property.

Oh well. She can afford expensive lawyers now, so I expect she’ll get her way. Not necessarily. Perez Hilton reports that Bundy already filed for an “okrr” trademark a year ago. Apparently she plans to put it on T-shirts for charity. Then again, Paris Hilton did manage to trademark her catchphrase “that’s hot” so who knows.

Do say: “You know when people say ‘Hey’ instead of ‘Hi’? I started that, I did.”

Don’t say: “Maybe a pigeon should own the trademark?”

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