Brand known as the Aunt Jemima acknowledges its racist past, will be retired

Quaker Oats, an F&B Giant is shutting down their Aunt Jemina, a 130-year brand and its logo, recognizing that its sources are built on a racial stereotype.


The Pepsi-owned company mentioned the following in a statement given to CNN Business: “As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations.” 


Aunt Jemima’s look has evolved over the years. But, the brand’s origin and logo is based on the song “Old Aunt Jemima” from a minstrel show performer and sung by slaves. The company’s website informed that the logo was established in 1890 and was predicated on Nancy Green, a “storyteller, cook and missionary worker.” Nevertheless, the website lacks to note that Green was born into slavery.


On Wednesday, Uncle Ben’s owner Mars also stated that “now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do,” adding that “we don’t yet know what the exact changes and timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities.”


Also, Conagra, which makes Mrs. Butterworth’s, informed that they will carry out a comprehensive brand and packaging review on the syrup brand. Conagra indicated that “can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.”


There have been recurrent calls for Aunt Jemima to amend its logo. In a 2015 opinion article published in The New York Times, Cornell University professor Riché Richardson stated that the logo is “very much linked to Southern racism.”


Richardson told that the Aunt Jemima logo is founded on a “‘mammy,’ a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own.” A statue of a maid mammy stereotype was accepted by the US Senate in 1923, but it was never constructed.


The brand also operated racist advertisements for numerous decades, with actresses representing the mammy stereotype. The brand developed their logo over time, and even employed singer Gladys Knight as a spokeswoman in the 1990s. As of today, Aunt Jemima outlines itself as a brand that represents “warmth, nourishment, and trust — qualities you’ll find in loving moms from diverse backgrounds who want the very best for their families.”


Kristin Kroepfl, Quaker Oats North America chief marketing officer stated: “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,” 


Pepsi (PEP) has still not disclosed their latest logo or brand name for the breakfast items. The brand will debut it in fall. The Aunt Jemima brand was bought by Quaker Oats in 1926 and later PepsiCo bought Quaker Oats in 2001.


Aunt Jemima will donate $5 million over the following five years with a view to “create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.” Previously in this week, Pepsi declared a $400 million group of initiatives to encourage the black community.


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