Set Her Free - Ask PepsiCo To Replace Aunt Jemima With B. Smith
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What better day than Juneteenth to announce our petition to set Aunt Jemima free. #SetHerFree
We are gathering signatures on this petition to present to parent company PepsiCo asking them to replace racist Aunt Jemima branding with that of well-known style and entertaining icon B. Smith. More about B. here: http://www.bsmith.com/about/
I'm B.'s husband and business partner Dan Gasby. B. and I have reached out to PepsiCo on two occasions asking the company to meet to discuss our concerns about the Aunt Jemima brand. We have been ignored.
Now, as B. battles Alzheimer’s, I am trying again for her, for my daughter, for my mother, for all women and conscious consumers, to see Aunt Jemima's negative branding gone from store shelves, forever, in our lifetime.
B. always hated that there was an Aunt Jemima brand when she had worked so hard growing B. Smith into a positive brand empire. There is just no reason for the unacceptable Aunt Jemima throwback when there is a B. Smith. From the look of it, PepsiCo knows this too.
Aunt Jemima is pictured nowhere on the PepsiCo site and nowhere on the Quaker Oats site. It lives on its own isolated, dedicated website, far removed from PepsiCo branding. There, it features an alternative facts legacy timeline.
Here we are in 2017 and, unlike the competitive set, Aunt Jemima offers no customer experiences and no social media platforms, except for a frozen products Facebook page by licensee Pinnacle Foods.
Well, of course we all know why. Aunt Jemima’s negative legacy and the proliferation of its painful, stereotypical, racist imagery is a liability - a liability with far greater potential than the Pepsi Moments ad to hurt PepsiCo and partners.
Here’s a litmus test – ask women: would they be proud to win a hypothetical Aunt Jemima College Scholarship? Would they attend an Aunt Jemima panel at a parenting Conference? Would anyone even share a post that they won the Aunt Jemima Recipe Contest? Is being compared to Aunt Jemima in any way a compliment? The answers all around are no.
PepsiCo needs to do better than to continue to ignore or make light of this serious issue. Imagery is so important. Most recently, the Pepsi Moments ad proved the consequences of missing the imagery mark, even if unintended. There is no reason to continue to use a symbol that is offensive to Black women, and to all women, when there are strong, positive, profitable role models and talented lifestyle branding experts at PepsiCo’s disposal. We want this petition to encourage PepsiCo to proactively initiate positive change. The positive press for announcing this move will be tremendous and constitute real leadership in corporate branding and diversity for PepsiCo.
B. Smith has been on the forefront of style, entertaining, and health and wellness, leading the way for positive branding. She has an unblemished, strong, profitable legacy joining diversity, a multi-ethnic aesthetic and authenticity all together under one stylish umbrella.
A portion of proceeds from sales of a B. Smith PepsiCo product would be earmarked to benefit research to cure Alzheimer’s, a disease African-Americans are at higher risk for.
Let’s make positive history together!
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