Primal Palette

Reflecting on a Controversial Comment

Last night, while watching the fourth episode of “Act Your Age” on Netflix, I was jolted out of my relaxed state by a comment that struck me like a bolt from the blue. A character declared he wouldn’t use Aunt Jemima’s syrup because it was “like pouring slavery all over his pancakes.” The comment was so shocking and unexpected that I immediately turned off the show, feeling a mix of confusion and offense.

The Initial Shock

Hearing such a provocative statement in a show that I had been enjoying for its lighthearted and relatable content was a shock. The comment felt harsh and, in that moment, unnecessary. I was deeply offended, and my first reaction was to shut down the show entirely. This response was visceral, stemming from a place of personal attachment and nostalgia associated with Aunt Jemima.

Taking Time to Reflect

After the initial shock wore off, I decided to sit down and think through my reaction. Why did this comment hit so hard? What was it about this statement that made me so uncomfortable? As I reflected, I realized that my emotional response was tied to a blend of personal history, cultural significance, and the broader societal context surrounding the Aunt Jemima brand.

Personal History and Nostalgia

Growing up, Aunt Jemima was a comforting presence at our breakfast table. Her warm smile on the syrup bottle was synonymous with family gatherings, love, and care. This brand was more than just a product; it was a part of my childhood. The rebranding of Aunt Jemima to Pearl Milling Company had already stirred mixed emotions within me. On one hand, I understood the need to address the brand’s problematic origins, but on the other hand, I felt a sense of loss. The brand had evolved to represent comfort and familiarity for many people, including myself.

The Broader Context

Understanding the broader context is crucial. The Aunt Jemima brand, originating in the late 19th century, was based on a minstrel show stereotype that portrayed African American women in subservient roles. This portrayal was deeply rooted in racism and perpetuated harmful stereotypes. The rebranding to Pearl Milling Company was a step towards addressing these issues and aligning with modern values of inclusivity and respect​​​​.

However, the emotional connection that many people, including myself, had with the Aunt Jemima brand cannot be overlooked. Brands like Aunt Jemima become woven into the fabric of our personal and cultural histories. They carry a weight of nostalgia and comfort that is difficult to disentangle from their problematic aspects.

Processing the Comment

The comment on “Act Your Age” was a stark reminder of the complex interplay between personal nostalgia and historical accountability. It forced me to confront the uncomfortable reality of how deeply embedded these cultural symbols are in our lives. While my initial reaction was one of shock and offense, upon reflection, I began to appreciate the importance of these conversations.

Finding a Balanced Perspective

After some thought, I came to understand that the show was attempting to address a significant cultural and historical issue, albeit in a way that felt jarring to me. The comment was intended to provoke thought and discussion about the legacy of racial stereotypes and the ongoing impact of these symbols in our society.

It’s important to navigate these conversations with sensitivity and an understanding of diverse perspectives. While the comment was difficult to hear, it also served as a catalyst for reflection and growth. It reminded me that progress often involves discomfort and that it’s essential to engage with these issues thoughtfully and openly.


The shock I felt watching “Act Your Age” was a powerful reminder of the deep emotional connections we form with cultural symbols and the complexities involved in addressing historical injustices. By taking the time to reflect on my initial reaction, I gained a deeper understanding of the importance of these conversations and the need to balance personal nostalgia with a commitment to progress.

It’s crucial to approach these topics with sensitivity and an open mind, recognizing that while change can be challenging, it’s often necessary for growth and inclusivity. In the end, my experience served as a valuable lesson in the importance of reflection and the power of thoughtful dialogue.

With love and light, Tesie Mills

Hi, I’m Tesie Mills