• Aunt Jemima products will be rebranded
  • Quaker Oats has acknowledge the brand’s racist past
  • PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, has pledged millions to support black communities

Quaker Foods North America has announced that it will retire the Aunt Jemima brand name and image in an effort to distance the product from racial stereotypes.

The announcement comes amid protests in the United States about racial injustice following the death of George Floyd under police custody last month. Protesters have tried to remove symbols of racism across the country, most notably monuments dedicated to Confederate officers.

Aunt Jemima, known for its pancake products and other breakfast foods, uses the images of an African American woman on its logo and is named after a character from 19th century minstrel shows.

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” the statement read. “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.”

Riché Richardson, an associate professor at Cornell University, told NBC that the Aunt Jemima logo was a “retrograde image of Black womanhood on store shelves.”

Richardson also said that the logo was a stereotype premised on the perceived inferiority and otherness of Black people.

“It’s an image that harkens back to the antebellum plantation,” he added.

Kristin Kroepfl, Quaker Foods North America’s vice president and chief marketing officer, told Fox News that the time has come to scrap the brand and give it a complete makeover.

Kroepfl acknowledged that the Aunt Jemima brand was not able to progress enough to “reflect the confidence, warmth and dignity that we would like it to stand for today.”

“We are starting by removing the image and changing the name. We will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand and make it one everyone can be proud to have in their pantry,” Kroepfl added.

Quaker Oats has also announced that the Aunt Jemima brand will donate $5 million over five years to support and engage in the black community. Its parent company PepsiCo pledged $400 million to support similar initiatives.

The change to Aunt Jemima comes amid a national reckoning about racial injustice, with many companies, including Facebook and Netflix, promising sweeping changes.

Levi, Intel and Verizon are among the companies that have pledged millions of dollars in donations to support organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Urban League and the American Civil Liberties Union.