Aunt Jemima Image to Change, recognizes racial stereotype

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NATIONAL LEVEL – Well-known syrup and pancake mix brand, Aunt Jemina, will strive to overhaul its image and branding after nearly 131 years.


What would you like to know

  • PepsiCo and Quaker Oats have released statements regarding the backlash
  • The 2015 New York Times opinion piece defines image as ‘mammy’
  • Aunt Jemima started trending on Twitter amid racial equality demands
  • Design modified in 1989 to reflect a more respectable image

According to multiple sources, PepsiCo, the parent company of Quaker Oats and Quaker Oats itself, has released statements referring to negative reactions to the image of the black woman pictured on the product.

“We recognize that Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.” Kristin Kroepfl, marketing director for Quaker Oats North America, said in a statement, according to CNN Business. “While work has been done over the years to update the brand in a proper and respectful manner, we realize that these changes are not enough. “

Aunt Jemima started trending on Twitter late Tuesday night, amid weeks of protests in response to George Floyd’s death and a call for racial equality. Many tweets referred to Aunt Jemima’s image as a former slave and therefore race-insensitive.

“We’re starting by removing the image and changing the name,” said Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, in a statement, according to AdWeek. “We will continue the conversation by bringing together diverse perspectives from our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand into one that everyone can be proud to have in their pantry.”

According to CNN Business, Aunt Jemima’s appearance has changed over time. The origin and logo of the brand were based on the song “Old Aunt Jemima” by a minstrel entertainer and said to have been sung by slaves. The company’s website said the logo began in 1890 and was based on Nancy Green, a “storyteller, cook and missionary.” He fails to mention that Green was born into slavery.

This is not the first time that the company has been pushed to change its logo. In an opinion piece published in the New York Times in 2015, Cornell University professor Riché Richardson said the logo was “very much linked to southern racism.”

Richardson said Aunt Jemima’s logo was based on a “‘mum’, a devoted and submissive maid who eagerly looked after the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own.”

The company has also run ads with actresses impersonating the mom stereotype for several decades.

The logo has evolved over the years with the scarf having been removed and pearl earrings and a lace necklace added in 1989. Gladys Knight was also added as a spokesperson in the 1990s.

Today the brand recognizes itself as “warmth, nourishment and confidence – qualities you will find in loving moms from all walks of life who want the best for their families.”

CNN Business also announced that the Aunt Jemima brand will donate $ 5 million over the next five years “to create meaningful and ongoing support and engagement in the black community.” Earlier this week, Pepsi announced a package of $ 400 million initiatives to support the black community.


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