Aunt Jemima Is Rebranding As Pearl Milling Company
The brand previously announced plans to drop its name and image after criticisms of a racist history.
UPDATE 2/10/21 at 4 p.m.: The Aunt Jemima brand has now rebranded as Pearl Milling Company, after announcing last year that the company would change its name and remove its label image.
According to NPR, the change will occur in June, and will maintain the red and yellow packaging found on Aunt Jemima boxes and bottles, without the character image.
The Aunt Jemima brand will be changing its name and removing its label image, NBC News reports.
Quaker Oats, the brand's parent company, said in a statement on Wednesday that it recognizes "Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype."
Founded in 1889, the brand features images of a Black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was originally dressed as a minstrel character. Though the image has changed over time, the company's website states the label was based on Nancy Green, a "storyteller, cook and missionary worker," but does not mention that Green was born into slavery.
"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. "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."
Kroepfl added that the company has worked to "update" the brand to be "appropriate and respectful" but it realized the changes were insufficient. The brand also said it will donate at least $5 million over the next five years "to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community."
It has yet to be announced what the brand's new name and label will be. Aunt Jemima's decision comes after renewed criticism of the brand following worldwide Black Lives Matter protests. Earlier this week, a viral TikTok pointed out Aunt Jemima's racist history, and Twitter threads delving into that history have also gone viral.
It's not the first time Aunt Jemima has faced criticism. In a 2015 opinion piece in the New York Times, Cornell University professor Riché Richardson said the logo is "very much linked to Southern racism," adding that it's based on a "'mammy,' a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own."