Even though the summer of woke is over and seemed to peak when the Dixie Chicks popped out of their hole to drop ‘Dixie’ from the band name, that doesn’t mean brands aren’t done self-evaluating themselves in case the Woke Army rolls into town looking to open up a big ‘ol can of cancel. Late last week B&G Foods decided it would make a preemptive strike and pull the black chef from Cream of Wheat packaging before Woke Army shifted focus from the police and to breakfast packaging.
“For years, the image of an African-American chef appeared on our Cream of Wheat packaging,” the company, B&G Foods, said Thursday. “Although research suggests the image may be based on an actual chef from Chicago, “it reminds some consumers of earlier depictions they find offensive,” the company said.
The chef on Cream of Wheat packaging is believed to be Frank White, who was an actual chef who was working in a Chicago restaurant. White is said to have eventually owned his own restaurant, the Holly House, before his death in 1935.
Quietly, on September 23, Uncle Ben’s rice removed Uncle Ben from its packaging. That was the same day of the Breonna Taylor grand jury decision. The Woke Army didn’t even care. Uncle Ben’s went even further, dropping “Uncle” from the packaging. The rice will now be called Ben’s Original.
“We are not just changing our name, but also taking action to enhance inclusion and equity and that comes with a new brand purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table,” Ben’s Original said in an Instagram statement.
“Our first actions will be to fund scholarships with National Urban League that will ensure aspiring Black culinary entrepreneurs get the educational opportunities they deserve so their ideas and voices can be appreciated by all.”