Aunt Jemima has been trending on Twitter, with users posting tens of thousands of tweets in response to Quaker Oats’ unveiling of a new name for its Aunt Jemima-brand products.
The new name, "Pearl Milling Company," was revealed on Tuesday, and with the product line to formally launch in June. The iconic brand will now be named after the original flourmill that helped produced the Aunt Jemima brand of pancake batter starting in the late 19th century. The photo of Aunt Jemima, a smiling, middle age African-American woman, has been replaced by a stylised image of a mill.
As expected, social media has divided regarding the significance of the rebranding, with many users expressing disagreement with Quaker Oats’ decision and ridiculing what they perceived to be a hollow gesture to remove racial stereotypes.
Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup new logo & name!— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) February 10, 2021
RACISM JUST ENDED! pic.twitter.com/KhGtYOPTJu
The United Wokeness of America— (((TheBurrowingOwl))) (@TheBurrowingOw1) February 10, 2021
They cancelled a syrup bottle 😂— Genie (@DrierGenie) February 10, 2021
Others pointed to the Aunt Jemima character’s racist origins, however, recalling the brand’s history, and that it was “literally based on the ‘mammy’ stereotype,” and welcoming the rebranding.
The quotes are filled with Black people that are disappointed when it was literally named based on the “mammy” stereotype. A Black woman did not come up with this recipe. The name & the fake Black woman were strategic. This change is a good thing, not something to be upset about https://t.co/6LhWsBMyxB pic.twitter.com/52pdNCQAwN— ju tha jeweler 🎋 (@earringdealer) February 10, 2021
There are still Black people living who remember that racist imagery and while the responses to it are as varied as those responding, I'm glad anyone who was hurt by its legacy at least won't be subjected to its advertisement, though the history remains.— cat lawyer's manager⁷ (@writersrepublic) February 10, 2021
Some, including many African-Americans, insisted that even despite the brand’s controversial history, they would still to go to the grocery store looking for Aunt Jemima pancake batter and syrup. “I’m not writing Pearl Milling Company on my grocery list,” one user quipped.
Somehow I’m still going to the store looking for Aunt Jemima syrup. https://t.co/T3M1B8ipS2— Phil Spain (@philenespanol) February 9, 2021
I’ll prolly call it aunt jemima for the remainder of my life 🤷🏽♂️ https://t.co/GTtuyVWFz3— 🐻 (@Wheat313) February 9, 2021
Others ridiculed the blandness of the new brand, suggesting Quaker Oats should have run a contest to let people vote on a new brand. “It now looks like the Great Value version of Aunt Jemima,” one user tweeted.
It now looks like the Great Value version of Aunt Jemima.— CORNER (@26theCB) February 10, 2021
That new one looks like something they sell at the dollar store.— EJ Bellocq (@EJBOnlyFans) February 10, 2021
That name sounds so Unappealing...I would have been ok if they just called it ‘syrup’ hey let’s go to the store for some pearl milling company syrup?! Nah I’m good. I’ll just stick with log cabin 😂— not_b4_coffee ☕️ (@one_time_around) February 10, 2021
Others joked about how their Aunt Jemima-branded pancake syrup bottles have become valuable “historical artifacts” overnight.
just texted the museum I got a historical artifact (aunt jemima) pic.twitter.com/xgWTKpiOyB— 𝒌𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒂🌐𝒏𝒐𝒗𝒂 (@planetdoreen) February 10, 2021
I didn't invest in DogeCoin when I had the chance.— M.E.Howard (@pickle_water) February 10, 2021
I did invest in several bottles of Aunt Jemima, however. pic.twitter.com/GnJBdUVqbo
Finally, a few users suggested that rebranding or not, the actual contents of the syrup bottle haven’t changed. “Now they should replace the corn syrup and chemicals with maple syrup,” user Ira Miles Frost quipped. “Great new name, same mediocre syrup!” @HerrWillhelm added.