Shortly after Aunt Jemima began trending on Twitter because of its racist connections, the company announced that the name and image will be removed.
“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,” Kristin Kroepfl, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Quaker Foods North America, said in a press release. “We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype. 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.”
Said Kroepfl, “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. 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.”
Per the company’s announcement, “packaging changes without the Aunt Jemima image will begin to appear throughout Q4 of 2020. The name change will be announced at a later date and will quickly follow the first phase of packaging changes.”
The Aunt Jemima brand was launched in the late 1800s, years after Billy Kersands’ minstrel song “Old Aunt Jemima” emerged. The character was also portrayed by male minstrel comedians dressed in Blackface.
Nancy Green, a formerly enslaved woman, was the first living trademark after being hired to portray the joyful mammy. Previous versions of the brand’s logo featured a Black woman smiling while wearing a headscarf.
The renowned brand of pancake mix, syrup, and other items will get a new name and look. What do you think it will be?