Here's Aunt Jemima's New Name

Products will be sold under the name Pearl Milling Company starting in June
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2021 12:43 AM CST
Updated Feb 13, 2021 10:05 AM CST
It's Name Change Time for Aunt Jemima
This image provided by PepsiCo, Inc., shows Quaker Oats' Pearl Milling Company brand pancake mix and syrup, formerly the Aunt Jemima brand.   (PepsiCo, Inc. via AP)

As promised, Quaker Oats is changing the name of its Aunt Jemima brand. Starting in June, the name and logo featuring a smiling Black woman—long criticized as racially insensitive—will no longer appear on products. Instead, they will be sold under the name Pearl Milling Company, CNN reports. That's the name of the company that originally created ready-made, self-rising pancake mix back in the late 1800s, the Wall Street Journal reports. Aunt Jemima's founders bought the company and trademarked the new name in 1888, and the brand grew to include syrup, frozen breakfast products, and more. The new logo features what appears to be a 19th-century water mill, where flour was ground; the colors remain the same familiar red, yellow, and white, and the design and font are also familiar. As part of the rollout, Quaker will donate $1 million to groups empowering Black women and girls.

"This name is a nod to where our delicious products began before becoming a family-favorite breakfast staple," says parent company PepsiCo. "While the Aunt Jemima brand was updated over the years in a manner intended to remove racial stereotypes, it has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the dignity, respect and warmth that we stand for today." The controversial name was inspired by a song performed in minstrel shows by someone in blackface, and a former enslaved woman was hired to be the spokesperson for the brand in 1890, the AP reports. After Aunt Jemima announced plans to change its name last year, a wave followed: Uncle Ben's became Ben's Original, Eskimo Pie became Edy's Pie, Mrs. Butterworth's said a name change was imminent, and Cream of Wheat did away with its Black chef logo. (Land O'Lakes also recently made a change.)

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