Quaker Oats has announced a new name for their old, offensive brand Aunt Jemima.
PepsiCo, Quaker Oats parent company, announced today it’s rebranding the popular pancake and syrup brand as Pearl Milling Company starting in June. One full year after they first announced plans to do away with the Aunt Jemima brand.
Aunt Jemima has long been criticized as an image harkening back to slavery. Old Aunt Jemima originated as a song of field slaves that was later performed at minstrel shows. The original Aunt Jemima character was portrayed by Nancy Green, who was born into slavery and traveled to promoted Aunt Jemima products in costume as a Quaker Oats employee.
The titles “aunt” and “uncle” were used by racists who would not refer to Black people as Mr., Mrs. or Miss.
Pearl Milling Company has a history, it’s not made up. It was founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and according to PepsiCo, it created the self-rising pancake mix that became Aunt Jemima, which Quaker Oats purchased nearly 100 years ago in 1925.
Pearl Milling Company has the same familiar the red and yellow packaging found on Aunt Jemima boxes and bottles. Aunt Jemima products will be available until June, sans the character image.
On SNL‘s Weekend Update this weekend, Michael Che said,
“The makers of Aunt Jemima products, which has been criticized for using racist imagery, are finally changing their name to Pearl Milling Company.
Pearl Milling was the name of the white lady who owned Aunt Jemima.”
Pearl Milling Company will commit $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women in the coming weeks.
The investment is in addition to PepsiCo’s $400 million, five-year commitment to advance and uplift Black businesses and communities.