Aunt Jemima reveals new name and logo after years of controversy

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By RADIO.COM

Aunt Jemima doesn't live here anymore.

After more than 130 years, the popular pancake and maple syrup brand has been redesigned with a new name and logo.

The syrup and its affiliated breakfast products will now be called Pearl Milling Company, according to parent company PepsiCo, reported CNN.

The brand makeover comes after years of being criticized for propagating racist stereotypes of Black women.

"We are starting a new day with Pearl Milling Company," a PepsiCo spokesperson said. "A new day rooted in the brand's historic beginnings and its mission to create moments that matter at the breakfast table."

While keeping with the brand’s traditional colors of red, white and yellow, the image of Aunt Jemima has been replaced with a 19th century watermill.

"This name is a nod to where our delicious products began before becoming a family-favorite breakfast staple," PepsiCo added.

"While the Aunt Jemima brand was updated over the years in a manner intended to remove racial stereotypes, it has not progressed enough to appropriately reflect the dignity, respect and warmth that we stand for today."

After announcing they would be rebranding last year, PepsiCo came up with the new name and logo following months of market research.

"Quaker worked with consumers, employees, external cultural and subject-matter experts, and diverse agency partners to gather broad perspectives and ensure the new brand was developed with inclusivity in mind," the company said.

The original logo was derived from the song "Old Aunt Jemima," which appeared in a minstrel show in the 1870s that featured performers in blackface.

Over the years, the brand made attempts to move past the racist imagery. They replaced the kerchief on the character’s head with a bandana in the '60s, and most recently added pearl earrings and a lace collar in 1989, reported the NY Times.

“In the coming weeks, Pearl Milling Company will also announce the details of a $1 million commitment to empower and uplift Black girls and women, inviting the community to visit its website and nominate non-profit organizations for an opportunity to receive grants to further that mission,” PepsiCo said in a statement.

“This is in addition to PepsiCo's more than $400 million, five-year investment to uplift Black business and communities, and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.”

Pearl Milling Company syrup and other items are scheduled to hit stores in June. Until then, products will continue to be available with the Aunt Jemima name but without the character image.

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