Aunt Jemima Fans Have Mixed Reactions to Pearl Milling Company Rebrand

Aunt Jemima has changed its name to Pearl Milling Company following calls for the branding to be changed due to its racist origins, but the new name has produced some mixed reactions.

The name Aunt Jemima was inspired by the song "Old Aunt Jemima," which was performed at minstrel shows, typically by a white man wearing blackface, while the original Aunt Jemima image was of an offensive "mammy" caricature.

Now the brand famous for its pancake mix and syrup will be known as Pearl Milling Company, named after the company founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, that originally created the self-rising pancake mix that would eventually be branded as Aunt Jemima.

The packaging featuring the new name and logo—which depicts a factory—will be launched in June 2021. The new packaging will be released a year after Quaker Oats Company announced it would transition from the Aunt Jemima packaging and pledged $5 million commitment to support the Black community.

Fans of the breakfast food brand have taken to Twitter to share their response to the branding change, with mixed reactions.

There has been widespread praise for the rebrand, including from activist and entrepreneur Ja'Mal Green, who said: "130 years ago two white men created 'Aunt Jemima' syrup. Took a black slave archetype and made her the face of their syrup for profit. Today, that ends.

"Aunt Jemima is finally being replaced. Those white men made billions appropriating blackness and hopefully rotting in hell. #NewDay"

130 years ago two white men created “Aunt Jemima” syrup. Took a black slave archetype & made her the face of their syrup for profit. Today, that ends. Aunt Jemima is finally being replaced. Those white men made billions appropriating blackness & hopefully rotting in hell. #NewDay

— Ja'Mal Green (@JaymalGreen) February 10, 2021

Twitter user @earringdealer said: "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 and the fake Black woman were strategic. This change is a good thing, not something to be upset about."

As @earringdealer said, there are also a lot of fans disappointed at the branding change. Some people seem to be upset that the image of Aunt Jemima has been removed from the branding, while others are disappointed in the new name.

Comedian Karlous Miller shared the news on Twitter and simply said: "I'm not buying it" with a crying laughing emoji, in a tweet that has been liked more than 10,000 times, while writer Kevin Fredericks said: "This somehow sounds more racist. Lol."

I’m not buying it 😂 https://t.co/mrNXCjIXmn

— Karlous (@KarlousM) February 9, 2021

Writer Jamilah Lemieux expressed disappointment with the new name and said: "If only they'd hired a Black woman to help them choose a new name—least they can do considering—maybe she could have helped them find one that is not terrible."

Other Twitter users simply expressed how difficult they may find the rebranding process, joking that they won't be able to find the syrup in store, like Rich who shared the meme of The Weeknd looking lost at a funhouse during his Superbowl performance on Sunday, and said: "Me at the grocery store looking for Aunt Jemima syrup tonight."

Me at the grocery store looking for Aunt Jemima syrup tonight pic.twitter.com/D9nuasXR82

— Rich (@UptownDCRich) February 10, 2021

Aunt Jemima is one of numerous brands that announced it would rebrand amid the Black Lives Matter protests that took place last summer. Other brands that said they would update their branding include Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, Uncle Ben's rice, Geechie Boy Mill grits, and Eskimo Pie ice cream.

Aunt Jemima
Bottles of Aunt Jemima pancake syrup are displayed on a shelf at Scotty's Market on June 17, 2020, in San Rafael, California. The breakfast food brand will now be known as Pearl Milling Company. Justin Sullivan/Getty