Quaker Oats is retiring the more than 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo, acknowledging its inception are based on a racial stereotype.
“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” the company said in a statement first obtained by NBC News.
Aunt Jemima’s appearance has evolved over time. The brand’s origin and logo is based off the song “Old Aunt Jemima” from a minstrel show performer. The company’s website said the logo started in 1890 and was based on Nancy Green, a “storyteller, cook and missionary worker.” The Aunt Jemima brand was purchased by Quaker Oats in 1926. PepsiCo then bought Quaker Oats in 2001.
There have been repeated calls for the company to change the logo. In 2017, the husband of the late B. Smith called on the company to change it and said it was the epitome of “female humiliation.”
After a nationwide reckoning on race following the death of George Floyd in police custody, companies are making changes.
Pepsi hasn’t yet revealed a new logo or brand name for the breakfast items. That will debut in the fall.
Pepsi will donate $5 million over the next five years “create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”