Aunt Jemima to Rebrand Due to Logo’s Harmful ‘Racial Stereotype’
After 130 years, Quaker Oats announced plans to rebrand Aunt Jemima in an effort "to make progress toward racial equality."
In the wake of George Floyd's police brutality death and the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, activists and consumers have demanded that companies take a stand against racial injustice, including the iconic pancake mix and syrup, which has been widely criticized due to its racist caricature of a black maid.
Many Twitter users called out Aunt Jemima for continuing to use the image despite its racist history.
In a statement to NBC News, Quaker Oats, now owned by Pepsi Company, confirmed it will retire the Aunt Jemima brand and logo later this year.
"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. "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."
"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," she continued. “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."
As of right now, there is no word on what Aunt Jemima's future will look like, but the company will also be donating $5 million over the next five years to "create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community."
Meanwhile, three more brands with a racial branding history have also followed suit: Uncle Ben, Cream of Wheat and Mrs. Butterworth. The companies behind these famous foods all pledged to review their long-standing brand images.