Uncle Ben's. Uncle Ben's is a brand name for parboiled rice and other related food products. There could be a short explanation about why the image is no longer used. As a global brand, we know we have a responsibility to help put an end to racial injustices. Harris said her family remains proud of Richard's legacy, hosting a pancake breakfast for the Hawkins community every March where a relative, dressed as Richard portraying Aunt Jemima, takes to the stage to talk about Richard's life. "It is symbolic, but ... symbols have real power," said Gregory Smithers, a history professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who co-wrote the book "Racism in American Popular Media: From Aunt Jemima to the Frito Bandito. Read more about our commitments to an equitable future for all at the link in bio. For a young Black woman trying to make her way in the early 1900s, job options were few. Ben's Original products are sold worldwide. Brown was a maitre d' in a Chicago restaurant. Does that change of image erase the brand's racist past? She knew if she went there, she could find domestic work and it would pay more.". In the current moment, Mars decided that shift didn't go far enough and plans to change the image on the packaging, though it doesn't know when or what those changes will be. Uncle Ben's will now be known as Ben's Original. According to the brand's website, Gordon Harwell and … "The brand is not just changing its name and image on the package," it says. "We’re in the process of working on the packaging redesign, but no final decisions have yet been made.". But, what exactly is the history behind "Uncle Ben," and was the controversial character based on a real person? She was happy and proud of the work she did.”. Waiting even a short time to begin putting aside money is a huge mistake because it has an outsized effect on the amount of money you'll end up with. So she went out for better opportunities because Dallas was much larger than Hawkins, Texas. "It is also taking action to enhance inclusion and equity and setting out its new brand purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.". Richard never had children but was married twice, first around 1912 to a man named Golden Leflore who died roughly two years later of tuberculosis. And they inform what we see as acceptable forms of representation.". © 2020 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we are evaluating all possibilities. Today, "Uncle Ben" wears a collared shirt instead. If you were a woman, you did domestic work. "We understand there are concerns regarding the chef image, and we are committed to evaluating our packaging and will proactively take steps to ensure that we and our brands do not inadvertently contribute to systemic racism,” B&G Foods said in a news release about reviewing the brand image. Conagra Brands, the maker of Mrs. Butterworth's, said the syrup bottles shaped like a matronly woman were "intended to evoke the images of a loving grandmother. We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the Uncle Ben’s brand and have committed to change. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. The name Uncle Ben came from an African American farmer in Texas who was renowned for his high-quality rice. An older version of the picture on the packaging shows a black man wearing a bowtie, dressed as a servant. Green was born into slavery in Kentucky and worked as a cook and housekeeper for a judge on the south side of Chicago, Smithers said. The brand attempted a makeover in 2007 when "Ben'' became a successful, modern businessman instead of a servant. It's worth noting that the brand's Instagram handle @unclebensusa and Twitter handle @UncleBens have not been changed, despite the announcement being distributed on both social media platforms. The exhibition shows that photo for Uncle Ben's Malt Liquor featuring his smiling face with whiskers that just don't look quite right. The brand was born in 1889 when owners Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood created the pancake mix. Harris said the box could display photos of the women as they looked when they weren't dressed in costume. The brand, which has been criticized for perpetuating racial stereotypes, will now be known as Ben’s Original, the company announced on Wednesday. 2011. She married James Diggs in 1935, but he also died, Harris said. Uncle Ben's Rice Allie Fenwick "Uncle" was a pejorative term used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to describe a Black person who was subservient to White authority figures. "They inform how we see other people, other cultures. Aunt Jemima. You were cooks, you were maids. These convenient cups of rice-y deliciousness cook quickly and are great as side dishes, snacks, and recipe ingredients. A marketing campaign commenced in 1945 to educate US consumers about the benefits of original CONVERTED Brand Rice. It included an etching of the chef portrayed on the Cream of Wheat Box. 1940s. And we learned. “B&G Foods unequivocally stands against prejudice and injustice of any kind.”. The rice company Uncle Ben’s is to scrap the image of a black farmer the brand has used since the 1940s and could change its name, as companies react to … She kind of became a little celebrity.". Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. Food giant Mars, Incorporated said Wednesday that it is changing the rice brand's name, which … "We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand, and as we announced in June, we have committed to change. Browse our selection of rice products & fast cook meals. We will change our name to Ben’s Original™, as well as remove the image on our packaging to create more inclusive branding. It was a job she did for the next 23 years. White was born on the island of Barbados around 1867, then moved to the USA seven years later and got his citizenship in 1890, according to a story in June 2007 by The Associated Press, which cited a Lansing State Journal interview with researcher Jesse Lasorda. "Getting more and more information and perspective about the past is only going to help that process be stronger," she said. Her income mostly came from her job as a housekeeper and the small fee she was paid for her advertising appearances. 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