Quaker Oats’ Aunt Jemima syrup brand will soon be getting a new logo and name. On Wednesday (June 17), the company announced that it would no longer use the name “Aunt Jemima” or the trademark image of a Black woman after admitting the breakfast food brand’s “origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
In a press release, Quaker Foods North America Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Kristin Kroepfl said that while the company has worked to “update” the brand over the years in order to be “appropriate and respectful,” they realize not enough change has been made.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kroepfl said. “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.”
Quaker has also pledged to donate at least $5 million over the next five years “to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”
The 130-year-old brand trended on Twitter amidst worldwide police brutality protests and nationwide social justice reform efforts. First debuted in 1893, the Aunt Jemima brand and logo have been widely criticized for perpetuating the racist stereotype of a “mammy,” which dates back to times of slavery. The name “Aunt Jemima” was also inspired by a minstrel song called “Old Aunt Jemima,” which white actors would perform in blackface.
“It’s an image that hearkens back to the antebellum plantation,” Cornell University Associate Professor Dr. Riché Richardson told the “TODAY” show on Wednesday (June 17). “Aunt Jemima is that kind of stereotype that is premised on this idea of Black inferiority and otherness.”
“It is urgent to expunge public spaces of a lot of these symbols that for some people are triggering and represent terror and abuse.”
The breakfast food brand’s new packaging is set to hit shelves this fall. Quaker will reportedly announce its new name at a later date.