Master P on Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben's: 'Those are not real people'
Black ownership of the products that African Americans consume would make a huge contribution to fighting injustice, says music mogul and entrepreneur Master P.
"If you look at Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, we don't own these products, we never did," said Master P in an interview with Yahoo Finance. "We have to understand that we cannot return money to our [black] community because we don't own these brands." Our grandparents let us buy these products because they think they are people who look like us. "
Aunt Jemima's syrup and pancake mix brand has been around since 1889, but Aunt Jemima's representation over the years has been based on a racist stereotype, according to parent company Quaker Oats, which is owned by PepsiCo (PEP). It was the picture of the former slave Nancy Green from which the fictional character of Aunt Jemima was created. Quaker Oats bought the brand in the 1930s.
On June 17th, 2020, boxes of Aunt Jemima pancake batter will be on display in Long Beach, California. Quaker Oats retires 131-year-old Aunt Jemima, saying the company recognizes that the character's origins "are based on a racist stereotype." "(AP Photo / Ashley Landis)
"What we are fighting for, we have to do it financially and financially fight for these rights and show people that we have people who think outside the box and bring great ideas." said Master P.
Master P made a name for himself in the music business as a rapper and founder of No Limit Records. He currently owns numerous companies, including rap snacks and MoneYatti streetwear and shoe collections.
Quaker Oats' decision this week to withdraw a brand that embodies racist stereotypes has highlighted the role companies can play in aggravating racial prejudice. Uncle Ben's brand, which was introduced in the 1940s, was also criticized for using "uncle", which, similar to "boy", was a derogatory term used for black men instead of their names during the Jim Crow era has been.
“If you have Aunt Jemima pancakes or Uncle Ben Rice, you know they're not real people. [There are] other men and girls out there who have products that bring them to life, ”he said.
This week Master P announced its own rice brand, Uncle Ps Reis, which is playing out Uncle Ben's rice name change and which he hopefully will bring to the shelves of major retailers. He said it was a way to "put money back into our community."
Cream of Wheat packaging will be photographed in Jackson, Miss. On Thursday, June 18, 2020. Uncle Ben's rice brand owner says the brand will "evolve" in response to concerns about racist stereotypes. (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis)
In a recently published Instagram post about his Uncle P's rice brand, he wrote: "We take the game! White rice, brown rice and red beans and rice. You will never see us coming, but we are here. If they can, we can do it. Start small and build. "
Uncle Ben's parent company, Mars Inc., said the brand is currently under review in a statement to Yahoo Finance. "When we listen to the voices of consumers, particularly the Black Community, and the voices of our employees worldwide, we realize that now is the time to develop Uncle Ben's brand, including its visual brand identity, what we will do. We don't know exactly how the changes or timing will change, but we're reviewing all the options. "
Conagra (CAG) and B & G Foods (BGS), the parent companies of the Mrs. Butterworth and Cream of Wheat brands, have also announced reviews of the packaging of these brands to eliminate racist images.
"I tell people all the time, do your own business. I think this is a great time we are getting into because not only are we protesting, but also whites, blacks, the unity you see out there, "says Master P." I think other races are starting to recognize that we, as African Americans, are victims. "
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