U.S. NEWS

Aunt Jemima To Change Name After Acknowledging 'Racial Stereotype'

Parent company Quaker Oats will unveil the pancake mix and syrup brand's new name in the fall.

The Aunt Jemima brand of syrup and pancake mix, long challenged for its racist packaging, is changing its name and logo, parent company Quaker Oats announced Wednesday.

The 130-year-old brand’s packaging features a Black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was originally inspired by a minstrel song.

“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 press release. “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 Oats said new packaging will appear in the fall, and the name change will be announced at a later date.

As the anti-racism movement expanded to many fronts since the police killing of George Floyd, critics called out the brand for its demeaning roots.

Aunt Jemima is “a retrograde image of Black womanhood on store shelves,” Riché Richardson, an Africana studies professor at Cornell University, said on the “Today” show on Wednesday morning. “It’s an image that harkens back to the antebellum plantation. ... Aunt Jemima is that kind of stereotype that is premised on this idea of Black inferiority and otherness.”

This week, the singer Kirby’s TikTok called “How to Make A Non Racist Breakfast” went viral. The clip ends with the performer dumping the pancake mix down the drain.

Quaker Oats said it had updated Aunt Jemima’s image over the years but the changes weren’t enough.

Following the Aunt Jemima announcement, rice brand Uncle Ben’s on Wednesday said it is “evolving” its visual identity in an effort to address racial bias and injustices. The exact changes and timing have not been disclosed, but “all possibilities” are being evaluated, a spokesperson for parent company Mars, Incorporated told HuffPost.

Hayley Miller contributed reporting.