‘Aunt Jemima’s’ Great-Grandson Calls Out Brand For Trying To 'Erase' Her(photo)

While some applauded Quaker Oats' decision to rebrand its Aunt Jemima product line in 2020—famous for its pancake mix and maple syrup—the descendants of the real lady who served as the brand's inspiration termed the move a "injustice" that only helped to erase Black history.

In response to acknowledging that "Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype," Quaker Oats declared on June 17, 2020 that it will alter the name and branding of its Aunt Jemima breakfast items, according to NBC News. Added a representative:

We must examine our portfolio of brands carefully to make sure they reflect our values and live up to the expectations of our customers as we try to advance racial equality via a number of initiatives.

The Pearl Milling Company introduced Aunt Jemima in 1888 after creating a pancake mix that it claimed to be the first "ready-mix" food item. The Aunt Jemima brand's visual representation was based on the Southern "mammy" stereotype. The corporation attempted to "update" and be "appropriate and respectful" of the times due to its associations with the Jim Crow era.

CNN reported in February 2021 that the name would be changed to Pearl Milling Company and that the iconography, which had "long been criticized as a racist caricature of a Black woman stemming from slavery," would be dropped.

The action was not only applauded by some parties, but it also inspired other businesses to take the same course. While Mrs. Butterworth's altered the appearance of its packaging, Uncle Ben's, a rice product with similar iconography on its packaging, announced that it too will undergo a transition and change its name to Ben's Original.

Some have, however, criticized the modifications as being incompatible with helping the Black community and just serving to erase a sad, but historical past.

A day after Quaker Oats' announcement in 2020, Larnell Evans Sr., the great-grandson of one of the ladies who had played Aunt Jemima, told Patch that the redesign was an insult to the legacy of his ancestors and to the Black community.

"This is unfair to my family and me. This dates back to my past. They use images of slavery to illustrate how racism is something that white people, not black people, do. This business makes money off depictions of our servitude. They've decided to do this by erasing the past of my great-grandmother. a female of color. He expressed his pain.

How many white folks grew up watching cartoons featuring Aunt Jemima at breakfast every day? How many white firms made all their money and gave us nothing in return? I believe they ought to examine it. They can't simply eradicate it while we continue to endure suffering, he said.

After generating all that money, Evans contended, "are they just going to rewrite history like it didn't happen? ... They won't offer us nothing, will they? What grants them this authority?

A chef who was a product of slavery named Nancy Green played the role of the original Aunt Jemima. Until 1923, when she passed away, she was still its mascot. Evans' great-grandmother Anna Short Harrington and Lillian Richard both assumed the role of Aunt Jemima.

The Richard family's opposition to the shift was also expressed by a spokesperson, who told KLTV, "I hope we would take a breath and not simply get rid of everything. because it is our past, good or terrible. Taking that away takes a piece of me with it. a component of each of us.

Added the representative:

"(Lillian) was hailed as a hero... and we're pleased about that. We oppose the erasure of that history.

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