Last June, Quaker Qats, a division of PepsiCo Inc., announced that it would be retiring the Aunt Jemima brand, which featured racist images of Black women. The pancake mix and syrup brand will now be known as the Pearl Milling Company, but the name change isn’t exactly sitting that well with some.
The Aunt Jemima brand was first founded in 1889 and hired a former slave to become the product’s front-facing figure, wearing aprons and other stereotypical presentations. A Syracuse, N.Y. woman by the name of Anna Short Harrington played the role of Aunt Jemima from 1935 to 1934 after she was discovered cooking pancakes at the New York State Fair. As its brand ambassador, Harrington traveled the nation while in character, down to cooking pancakes and the whole bit.
The image of a dark-skinned, plus-sized Black woman donning an apron leaned into the slave or domesticated worker angle has been troubling for some time and the summer of 2020 brought awareness to the still ongoing plight of racial inequality and bigotry. The brand name had also become something of a pejorative and even with changes to the images, such as giving the Aunt Jemima character having a modern hairstyle, it was an especially outdated model.
The Pearl Milling Company name was founded in 1888 according to Quaker Oats in St. Joseph, Mo., where the pancake mix of today was first originated. The logo’s former removal will now be replaced by a photo of the Pearl Milling Company but the colors and fonts used on the packaging shall remain.
Given Aunt Jemima’s long presence on store shelves for over a century, some are attempting to adjust to the brand’s new reality. On Twitter, the reaction has been both receptive and at points humorous. We’ve got all angles in the playlist below.
Learn more about the changes via this PepsiCo press release.
Twitter Reacts To Aunt Jemima Tossing Out Racist Name, Renamed Pearl Milling Company was originally published on hiphopwired.com
Me at the grocery store looking for Aunt Jemima syrup tonight pic.twitter.com/D9nuasXR82— Rich (@UptownDCRich) February 10, 2021
He come old flat top, he got Zoom cat lawyer, he one Leto joker, cancel Aunt Jemima, he say one and two and free Britney, Castor at impeachment he just say what he please— James Urbaniak (@JamesUrbaniak) February 10, 2021
Hot off the griddle: The Aunt Jemima Pancake brand will now be known as Pearl Milling Company.— Michele Norris (@michele_norris) February 10, 2021
It takes its name after the 1889 company that created the pancake mix way when.
Still processing. More later pic.twitter.com/nJE6EhhtZE
I knew my fight wasn’t the same when some of y’all were up in arms over Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s, but I digress!— ᴅᴏʟʟᴀʀ (@callmedollar) February 9, 2021
Aunt Jemima leaving the syrup game pic.twitter.com/5NunzRcJNk— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) February 10, 2021
I’m still calling the syrup Aunt Jemima— 😎Shay-Boogie🤘🏾 (@HeartBreakSeun) February 10, 2021
My last bottle of Aunt Jemima..she was like a father to me pic.twitter.com/UzGoKrVXLL— Vince Vintage (@_vincevintage) February 10, 2021
As soon as Aunt Jemima got up off that box and bottle.pic.twitter.com/SdMPSPUKY8— Jermaine (@JermaineWatkins) February 10, 2021
I didn't invest in DogeCoin when I had the chance.— M.E.Howard (@pickle_water) February 10, 2021
I did invest in several bottles of Aunt Jemima, however. pic.twitter.com/GnJBdUVqbo
I’ll prolly call it aunt jemima for the remainder of my life 🤷🏽♂️ https://t.co/GTtuyVWFz3— 🐻 (@Wheat313) February 9, 2021
Back on Twitter to mourn the loss of an icon, a legend, a fucking powerhouse.— JacDeeMac (@JacDeeMac) February 10, 2021
RIP Aunt Jemima, the most beautiful woman i've ever laid eyes on.
Gotta pour one out for the homie pic.twitter.com/UmMhzPbsUq