Saying ‘2020 is the year of changes’ is an understatement at this point.
We thought quarantine forced us to change our lifestyle, but then the tragic death of George Floyd–followed by the worldwide outcry for an end to police brutality–made a lot of us take a second look in the mirror. It’s time to educate ourselves, change our mindset, and stand in solidarity.
And when we speak up, the people with the big bucks start to listen.
Companies who own some of the biggest brands are calling for change too, and not just as a PR opportunity—they’re *actually* making changes. The best part? it’s not just one; several brands have stepped forward to say ‘hey, this isn’t right, and we’re going to do something about it.’ That’s not verbatim, but you get the gist.
Here’s a list of companies who have started the commitment to changing in support of Black Lives Matter, and possibly encourage other brands to do the same.
Quaker Oats announced that they would be retiring the famous Aunt Jemima pancake brand saying “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.” Aunt Jemima was founded on a racial stereotype, and is based off the song “Old Aunt Jemima” that was reportedly sung by slaves. Makes you think twice about what you’ll put on your pancakes, huh?
Following in Quaker Oats’ footsteps, the famous rice brand Uncle Ben’s has also announced that they will be altering their brand identity. A statement by the brand’s owner, Mars, read “now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity, which we will do.” Uncle Ben’s website explains their name was in reference to a black rice farmer from the 40’s, but of course they fail to mention that the title of ‘uncle’ was used for servants by families who refused to address them as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’
The hypermarket was called out for it’s display of hair care products a few days ago. A woman shopping in Colorado shared a video on Twitter of commonly used shampoos on open display while products designed for black people’s hair are locked in plastic cases, as you would for an expensive electronic device.
“This Walmart is in the heart of Montbello. There are black and brown people all over the place. The message is clear: We don’t trust you.”
— Tori Mason (@ToriMasonTV) June 8, 2020
“The message is clear,” the shopper says says, “we don’t trust you.” Walmart’s announcement vowed to discontinue the restrictions placed on these multicultural products, and they were only meant to deter shoplifters and not to insinuate any stereotype. Sure, Jan. *eye roll*
The gay dating/hookup app has taken their stand in the fight against racism by announcing the removal of their ‘ethnicity filter.’ As part of their paid ‘Xtra’ service, users could filter their matches based on a person’s ethnicity. According to CNN, criticism of this feature in the past has been that it reinforces racial divisions and biases, and is just over-all unnecessary in the journey to find ~love~. Their statement earlier this week explained “We stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the hundreds of thousands of queer people of color who log in to our app every day.”