Aunt Jemima Gets Canceled During Black History Month – New Name Is An Insult To Her Legacy
PepsiCo announced the rebranding of Aunt Jemima during Black History Month, erasing the legacy of many, but the new name is getting pushback.
The Aunt Jemima brand is officially canceled after a 125 year run. Many proud black women served as brand ambassadors for Aunt Jemima, one of the longest continually running logos and trademarks in the history of American advertising. Adding insult to injury, Aunt Jemima’s rebranding was debuted during Black History Month.
The brand debuted in 1893 when Nancy Green served pancakes in a booth at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The former slave was incredibly popular as Aunt Jemima from the launch of the first ready-mix pancake flour.
Green was given a lifetime contract with the company and traveled the country promoting the pancake mix.
Family Fights Aunt Jemima Rebranding
When it was announced last year the brand was being canceled, there was outrage from family members of another woman who’d also portrayed her – Anna Harrington.
After Nancy Green died in in 1923, the brand replaced her with many different women as Aunt Jemima throughout the years.
One of them was Anna Harrington and there were others as well including Lillian Richard, Anna Robinson, Edith Wilson, and Ethel Ernestine Harper.
Harrington’s family didn’t want Aunt Jemima erased. Sill, the erasure of her continued.
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Aunt Jemima Name Changed To Pearl Milling Company
And, now Aunt Jemima products will be known as Pearl Milling Company.
Aunt Jemima’s smile will no longer accompany the breakfast products in any capacity.
This new branding will hit stores in June 2021.
This package isn’t as marketable like before. It went from my favorite pancake mix to not even worth buying anymore. Aunt Jemima was my childhood. On Black History Month, really?! She was a hero! #bringbackauntjemima #whosideawasthis #auntjemima. https://t.co/sqEYqv16Zq
— SelaVera (@loveSelaVera) February 10, 2021
Aunt Jemima got a makeover years ago to remove the “mammy” stereotype.
But, that wasn’t enough for the social justice warriors.
As PepsiCo, the parent company, is finding out after announcing the new branding, you can’t please everyone.
There is no depiction of the smiling woman who greeted us at breakfast for over a century.
She’s gone and replaced by a generic label and name from the same era.
— Enrico Sanchez (@Electricblu1) February 9, 2021
First Living Trademark
Nancy Green broke ground as the first living trademark. It’s quite an accomplishment for a former slave.
But, rather than finding a different way to continue the legacy of the women who depicted Aunt Jemima as the breakfast champion for over a century, she is erased.
The world knew her as “Aunt Jemima”, but her given name was Nancy Green. She was born a slave in 1834 and and became the 1st living trademarkin the advertisingworld. #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHistory #AuntJemima #NancyGreen pic.twitter.com/dFgUZlTiaa
— High Tea Podcast MKK (@HighTeaPod1) February 4, 2021
Twitter is littered with plenty of criticism about the name change.
Not only is the timing of the announcement during Black History Month, but also the fact that name change highlights the color white with the name “Pearl.”
Nah, @PepsiCo put Aunt Jemima back on there. We the Black Delegation did not ask for this. Those that asked for it do not speak for us! #RehireAuntJemima #AuntJemima #pepsico #blackpeople #BlackHistoryMonth #HappyBlackHistoryMonth #bringherback #AfricanAmerican #BlackGirlMagic pic.twitter.com/xMWswh34lf
— BornGeechee (@BornGeechee) February 10, 2021
They changed the name Aunt Jemima to Pearl (White) Milling in Black History Month.
— Dr. Interracial 🇺🇸 (@sandyleevincent) February 10, 2021
Given that June is a few months away, Pepsi has time to react to this pushback before Aunt Jemima’s replacement hits the shelves.
They waited til Black History month to reveal they changed it from Aunt Jemima LOLOLOL. White people are wild.
— Eva Styles (@MissEvaStyles) February 10, 2021
Descendants of women who’ve portrayed Aunt Jemima have actively pushed back against efforts to cancel the beloved brand.
No doubt their response to the rebranding change to Pearl Milling Company will be interesting.