Aunt Jemima is hanging up her cast iron skillet and retiring from the pancake game. According to Quaker Oats, Aunt Jemima brand pancake mix and syrup will be renamed Pearl Milling Company. The new name will start hitting store shelves in June, according to the parent company, Pepsico Inc.
The rebranding came last year as the Black Lives Matter movement sparked across the nation after George Floyd was killed in police custody. This isn't the only new brand to change from last summer, and brands such as Uncle Ben's, Cream of Wheat, and Mrs.Butterworth's have all changed or rebranded due to the protests against systemic racism and police brutality.
Uncle Ben's has already changed to Ben's Original and discarded the Uncle Ben logo featuring a Black man wearing a bow tie.
Who Was Aunt Jemima?
According to NPR, the Aunt Jemima logo and brand has been criticized for using a racist caricature that dates back to slavery. Founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, by originator Chris L Rutt, the Aunt Jemima name was based on an old 19th-century minstrel show song called, "Old Aunt Jemima". The song was usually performed in blackface wearing aprons and bandana headbands.
The original Aunt Jemima character was played by Nancy Green, who was born into slavery in the 19th-century. The company would pay her to travel and promote Aunt Jemima products, such as the famous self-rising pancake mix, in costume.
Pearl Milling Company To Hit Shelves Soon
Along with the rebrand, Pearl Milling Company will also announce details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and Black women in the coming weeks. This investment will be joining PepsiCo's $400 million, five-year commitment to advance and uplift Black businesses, Black representation, and communities.
The rebranding is covering all products including cornmeal, grits, and syrup.