PepsiCo Axes Aunt Jemima Brand Amid Criticism

NBC News reports:

The Aunt Jemima brand of syrup and pancake mix will get a new name and image, Quaker Oats announced Wednesday, saying the company recognizes that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”

The 130-year-old brand features a Black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was originally dressed as a minstrel character. The picture has changed over time, and in recent years Quaker removed the “mammy” kerchief from the character to blunt growing criticism that the brand perpetuated a racist stereotype that dated to the days of slavery.

But Quaker, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, said removing the image and name is part of an effort by the company “to make progress toward racial equality.”

The Today Show reports:

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, said in a statement to NBC News. “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.”

Pepsi also said the Aunt Jemima brand will donate $5 million to create “meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.” The rebrand comes after “Aunt Jemima” became a trending topic on Twitter Tuesday, with many users criticizing the company for maintaining the name and logo for so long.