In the midst of very active Black Lives Matter (BLM) climate, The Quaker Oats Company has announced it will change the name and image of its popular “Aunt Jemima” brand. The 130-year-old brand made the announcement Wednesday, June 17, reported NBC News.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in a press release.
“While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a manner intended to be appropriate and respectful, we realize those changes are not enough.”
A subsidiary of PepsiCo, Quaker Oats has long been criticized for the “Mammy” stereotype Aunt Jemima represented. Maurice Manring, author of “Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima,” is among those critics.
“Aunt Jemima advertising played on a certain type of nostalgia and a certain type of racial nostalgia, particularly in the first half of the 20th century about how great plantation life was and how great it was to literally, to have someone like Aunt Jemima who would make the pancakes or whatever for you,” Manning told NPR last year, reported The Today Show.
Though the picture has been updated over time, the company made the decision to rebrand the products after a viral TikTok video from singer Kirby once again raised it’s racist implications.
“We acknowledge the brand has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today,” Kroepfl said.
“We are starting by removing the image and changing the name. We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry.”
Written by Isheka N. Harrison