Washington, Jun 17 (efe-epa).- US food company Quaker Oats, owned by PepsiCo, on Wednesday announced that it will change the “racist” name of its Aunt Jemima pancake mix, syrup and other breakfast foods brand, based on a racial stereotype, and that product line’s logo, which is based on Nancy Green, an African American cook who was born into slavery in 1834.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Quaker Foods North America vice president and chief marketing officer Kristin Kroepfl said in a statement to NBC News. “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.”
Quaker Oats was acquired by PepsiCo in 2001.
The origin of the Aunt Jemima brand is found in a minstrel song sung by and about black slaves in the US – “Old Aunt Jemima” – and is based on the stereotype of a black “mammy,” a type of slave tasked with raising the children of the white masters.
According to the Aunt Jemima Web page, the logo was designed in 1890 based on Nancy Green, saying she was a storyteller, cook and hard worker, although local media report that this description by the company neglects to state that Green was born a slave and was owned for decades by whites.
But this portrayal is not the only racial controversy linked to the brand, given that for decades its advertisements extolled the controversial “mammy” figure.
In the late 1980s, the figure of Aunt Jemima was redesigned, transitioning from an obese and smiling black slave wearing a bandanna head-scarf to another kind of black female servant, still smiling but more slender and with a stylish hairdo.
Although the upcoming changes to the brand have been confirmed, Pepsi still has not revealed the brand’s new name or logo, yet it is known that these will be unveiled in the fall.
In addition, PepsiCo said that Aunt Jemima will donate $5 million over the next five years to create “meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”