Quaker Oats shared, “We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
Soul singer Kirby recently created a viral TikTok video exposing Quaker brand Aunt Jemima for its racist origins. In the short clip, she describes the quickest way to make a “non-racist breakfast.” The video was viewed over 1 million times.
Today, Quaker Oats announced Aunt Jemima’s name and packaging will be completely rebranded, reports CBS. The company released a statement sharing it recognizes that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
Kirby’s video features her reaching for a pack of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and said: “Did you know the name Aunt Jemima means slave mammy on the plantation south?” She went on to add the founder got the name of the brand after attending a minstrel show.
She later shared that the founder also hired former slave Nancy Green to travel and cook pancakes, Green was a living trademark for Aunt Jemima starting in 1893. Kirby ended the clip saying, “Not today. Black lives matter people.”
@singkirbysingHow To Make A Non Racist Breakfast. ##blacklivesmatter ##endracism ##endracism2020 ##blackvoicesheard ##blackwomen ##allblacklivesmatter ##Kolors♬ original sound – singkirbysing
As the nation experiences protests, cases of police brutality, and countless deaths over recent weeks, social media users took to Twitter to criticize the name Aunt Jemima and its packaging. Despite the image change over the years, one user shared it was simply a modern version of “an enslaved Black woman.”
Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America shared the following statement:
“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.”
The statement also read, “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.”
According to CBS, the new packaging will begin to appear in the fourth quarter of 2020. The new brand name is set to be announced at a later date.
Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind @robyn_mowatt.