UPDATED 2/11 9:25 a.m. ET: The families of the models integral to the original Aunt Jemima branding have spoken out on the name change. As TMZ reported on Thursday, Lillian Richard and Anna Short Harrington were models for Aunt Jemima at different points during the brand’s history, both prior to the most recent iteration of the logo.
Vera Richard Harris, the great-niece of Lillian, is calling for Pearl Milling Company to add the names of all the models who portrayed Jemima to be added to the packaging. Meanwhile Wanetta Cowan, the great-granddaughter of Anna, is calling for royalties for the models’ families.
Relatives have spoken out on these concerns before, including last summer in the wake of announcements of the then-impending rebranding.
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Aunt Jemima is finally gone, for good.
“We are starting a new day with Pearl Milling Company,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said, per CNN. “A new day rooted in the brand’s historic beginnings and its mission to create moments that matter at the breakfast table.”
The Aunt Jemima logo had long been criticized for its racist use of a stereotypical mammy, portrayed originally by a woman named Nancy Green, who was born enslaved. The company’s founder Chris L. Rutt named his business after the “Old Aunt Jemima,” an 1875 minstrel show song performed by people in blackface. Quaker Oats faced renewed backlash last summer, in part thanks to one viral TikTok, in the wake of several murders by police and Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
In response, the company announced that it would finally retire the brand last June, and filed a trademark for the new logo on February 1, according to TMZ.
“This name is a nod to where our delicious products began before becoming a family-favorite breakfast staple,” PepsiCo said of the new logo. “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.”
The new logo uses the original red, white, and yellow color scheme, but replaces Aunt Jemima with a drawing of a 19th century watermill, where flour was ground during that time. After Quaker Oats announced its decision to rebrand last year, other products including Uncle Ben’s, Ms. Buttersworth, and Cream of Wheat also decided to abandon their similarly racist logos.