Aunt Jemima's new name mocked on social media: 'Doesn't sound like something edible'
Category: News & PoliticsVia: john-russell • 3 weeks ago • 83 comments
By: Pepsi Co (syracuse)
The breakfast brand Aunt Jemima is removing its logo and will be renamed,
Facebook Share Twitter Share By Geoff Herbert | firstname.lastname@example.org
Aunt Jemima's new name is getting mocked mercilessly on social media.
Quaker Oats, a division of PepsiCo Inc., announced Tuesday that its iconic pancake mix and syrup will be renamed the "Pearl Milling Company." Aunt Jemima products will continue to be sold until June when the brand name change takes effect; products will still have the same familiar red packaging.
Pearl Milling Company is named after the company founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, that originated the self-rising pancake mix.
Quaker said last year it would retire the Aunt Jemima name because the character's origins are "based on a racial stereotype." The image and character were inspired by the 19th century "mammy" minstrel character, a Black woman content to serve her white masters; "mammy" was often portrayed by white actors in blackface.
A Syracuse woman, Anna Short Harrington, portrayed Aunt Jemima from 1935 to 1954 after being discovered while cooking pancakes at the 1935 New York State Fair. She was hired as an actress to dress up like Aunt Jemima and travel North America, serving pancakes and promoting the brand. Nancy Green, a former slave, originated the role with an apron and head scarf in 1893.
The new logo features an illustration of the Pearl Milling Company instead of Aunt Jemima's smiling face, and the packaging features the new name in a similar font.
This image provided by PepsiCo, Inc., shows Quaker Oats' Pearl Milling Company brand pancake mix and syrup, formerly the Aunt Jemima brand. Aunt Jemima products will continue to be sold until June 2021, when the packaging will officially change over. (PepsiCo, Inc. via AP)AP
Many social media users agreed a new name was needed, but didn't like the choice the company landed on.
"Aunt Jemima was a legend. Pearl Milling Company? You go woke and become a joke. Never will I buy this wannabe knock-off of the legend. You just lost a life long customer," one Twitter user wrote.
Another joked that it sounded like the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company from "The Office," and shared a Photoshopped image of "what I'm gonna think EVERYTIME I hear the name Pearl Milling Company."
"Pearl Milling Company sound like the plantation they had Aunt Jemima... at! I'm not falling for the trap!" a third tweet said.
"I'm not writing Pearl Milling Company on my grocery list," a fourth tweeted.
"Pearl Milling Company is a bad name for pancake mix and syrup. It just doesn't sound like something edible," a fifth Twitter user said.
"Aunt Jemima was very problematic. But Pearl Milling Company sounds like something undelicious that needs to be cleaned off the factory floor," another agreed. "Think I'll stick with maple syrup."
Others joked that Pearl Milling sounded like a mining company or a gravel manufacturer.
The Associated Press reports Quaker Oats bought the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925 and modified its logo over the years to distance itself from negative stereotypes. However, social justice initiatives in the wake of George Floyd's death and Black Lives Matter protests sparked many brands to make bigger changes, like Uncle Ben's rice, now known as Ben's Original.
Quaker said it sought input from customers, employees and external cultural experts in developing the new name for Aunt Jemima. The company said it's also donating $1 million to groups that empower Black women and girls as part of the Pearl Milling Company rollout.
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