Aunt Jemima name, logo changed after 131 years

The historic pancake mix and syrup label Aunt Jemima will now be known as Pearl Milling Company.

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PepsiCo, the parent company behind the historic pancake mix and syrup label known as Aunt Jemima, has debuted its new name and logo.

Changed after 131 years in an effort to reconcile its previously racist trope imagery with an evolving society, the brand will now be known as Pearl Milling Company.

Bottles of Aunt Jemima pancake syrup are displayed on a shelf at Scotty’s Market on in San Rafael, California. PepsiCo announced that it will discontinue the 131-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and replace it with Pearl Milling Company. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PepsiCo announced it is “starting a new day with Pearl Milling Company … rooted in the brand’s historic beginnings and its mission to create moments that matter at the breakfast table.”

The new name is a nod to the original company that created the ready-to-use pancake mix and its chief condiment. Its red, white and yellow color scheme remains the same.

Aunt Jemima was based on the racial trope of a Black “mammy,” a smiling woman-servant in a white household. In television and film, she was often depicted as heavyset and devoted to her white charges, particularly children.

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PepsiCo was one of several companies that chose to reexamine logos that were rooted in racist imagery. The previous image of Aunt Jemima dressed in a headscarf happily serving up pancakes was replaced in 1989 with an updated look of a Black woman with pearl earrings and perfectly coiffed hair. The brand name, however, remained the same.

Aside from Aunt Jemima, one of the most recognizable mammies is the character bearing the name from the 1936 film, Gone with the Wind.

In it, actress Hattie McDaniel played Mammy, and her portrayal made her the first African American to win an Academy Award.

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About their decision to change the name of the product, PepsiCo officials said, “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.”

Pearl Milling Company has committed to spending $1 million toward causes that uplift Black women and girls in the coming weeks.

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