Culture

Trader Joe’s Reverses Course, Will Keep Ethnic Food Names

Update July 31, 2020: Trader Joe’s will not be renaming ethnic food packaging that some find offensive. Instead, the grocery chain released a statement dismissing a petition signed by customers seeking a change to the packaging.

Trader Joe’s officials have changed the minds about renaming packaging of ethnic food.

In a very visible flip-flop, Trader Joe’s is no longer changing the packaging name of its ethnic products. The decision comes after mounting calls for the grocery chain to do better and change the name of ethnic products.

“In light of recent feedback and attention we’ve received about our product naming, we have some things we’d like to say to clarify our approach,” reads the statement on the Trader Joe’s website. “A few weeks ago, an online petition was launched calling on us to ‘remove racist packaging from [our] products.’ Following were inaccurate reports that the petition prompted us to take action. We want to be clear: we disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions. We make decisions based on what customers purchase, as well as the feedback we receive from our customers and Crew Members. If we feel there is need for change, we do not hesitate to take action.”

Looks like Trader Ming’s and Trader José are here to stay.

Original: If you’re feeling a little disenchanted by the progress of nationwide protests over racial inequality, you might find some light looking at the recent mass of rebranded products by companies. Protests online about companies who have amassed their wealth on products that promote racial stereotypes have prompted brands like Quaker Oats, PepsiCo, Colgate, and Nestlé to acknowledge their roles in perpetuating racial issues through their products and make changes. That’s right brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s rice are changing. Now, Trader Joe’s is up for its reckoning.

Over 1,700 people have signed a petition pressing Trader Joe’s to make changes to some of their food products.

The petition, which was kicked off by Briones Bedell (high school senior from California) two weeks ago, accuses the grocery chain’s branding of being “racist.”

“The grocery chain labels some of its ethnic foods with modifications of ‘Joe’ that belies a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” the petition explains.

The petition points to the grocery chain’s international food items whose names include Trader Ming’s, Trader José, and Trader Giotto’s.

Those products and others reflect “a narrative of exoticism that perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” according to the petition, which on Sunday had been signed by more than 1,500 people. “They’re racist because they exoticize other cultures, present ‘Joe’ as this default normal, and then the other characters — such as Thai Joe, Trader José, Trader Joe San — falling outside of it,” Bedell wrote in the petition.

Bedell’s petition also underlined that Trader Joe’s approach to branding has roots in the “fetishization” of non-Western people.

“The Trader Joe’s company takes pride in the fact that the founder, Joe Coulombe, took inspiration in building the Trader Joe’s brand from a racist book and a controversial theme park attraction, both of which have received criticism for romanticizing Western Imperialism and fetishizing non-Western peoples. We learn directly from the Trader Joe’s website that the first Trader Joe’s store: “had a nautical theme and it was run by people who were described as “traders on the high seas.” At the time, Joe had been reading a book called “White Shadows in the South Seas,” and he’d been to the Disneyland Jungle Trip ride, and it all just…coalesced. To this day, Trader Joe’s Crew Members consider themselves “traders on the culinary seas” and are known for their bright, tropical-patterned shirts…'” the petition explains.

As the petition also points out, the 1919 book White Shadows in the South Seas follows the exploitive nature of trading companies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries which worked to enslave Polynesian islands.

In response to requests for changes, Trader Joe’s has said that they have already set in motion updates to replace “any variations with the name Trader Joe’s.”

“While this approach to product naming may have been rooted in a lighthearted attempt at inclusiveness, we recognize that it may now have the opposite effect — one that is contrary to the welcoming, rewarding customer experience we strive to create every day,” a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s, said in a statement according to NYT. “Packaging for a number of the products has already been changed, but there’s a small number of products in which the packaging is still going through the process,”

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Ben Affleck & Marc Anthony Spoke Frankly About J.LO And My Nostalgic Aughts-Self Is Giving A Toast

Entertainment

Ben Affleck & Marc Anthony Spoke Frankly About J.LO And My Nostalgic Aughts-Self Is Giving A Toast

Sony Pictures

No doubt, as the Latina Queen of Hollywood, Jennifer Lopez has played the better half of quite a few relationships and not just on-screen. From Diddy, formerly known as Puff Daddy and P Diddy, to Casper Smart Lopez has been The Strong Woman behind some pretty well-known men.

Her exes Marc Anthony (whom J.L o shares twins Emme and Max, 13 with) and Ben Affleck know it, and in a recent interview, they opened up about what they really think of her.

For her recent May cover of InStyle magazine, Lopez’s feature story included insights from her former loves Anthony and Affleck on everything from her drive to her ageless beauty.

In honor of the singer and actor’s 30-year run in the entertainment industry, the magazine featured her and her most prolific exes. For the interview, both Anthony and Affleck commented on Lopez’s character, heart, and business savvy. “The thing about Jennifer is her ability to see and understand things before they happen,” Anthony, explained in his interview.

Anthony, a singer and actor who starred in the 2001 film In the Time of the Butterflies was married to Lopez from 2004 to 2014.

“Before she even brings an idea up, she has visualized it a thousand times. And if anyone says it might not be the greatest idea, she’ll say, ‘You just don’t see it yet.’ Nine times out of 10, she’ll nail it. She’s the first one in the room and the last to leave. The hardest worker I’ve ever met,” Anthony went onto share. “When we were together, it was quite the opposite for me. That has changed since. I learned so much from her. She’s the original!”

Affleck who dated J.LO in 2002 and starred alongside her in the films “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl” also spoke openly about Lopez.

“I thought I had a good work ethic, but I was completely humbled and blown away by what she was committed to doing day in and day out, the seriousness in which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts,” Affleck, whose romance with Lopez earned him the other part of the nickname “Bennifer” by the media, explained.

“She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I’ve come across in this business,” he revealed, “She has great talent, but she has also worked very hard for her success, and I’m so happy for her that she seems, at long last, to be getting the credit she deserves.”

At one point Affleck commented, relatably, that he felt J.Lo appeared as if she hadn’t aged since they dated.

“Where are you keeping the fountain of youth? Why do you look the same as you did in 2003 and it kind of looks like I’m in my 40s…at best?” he joked.

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Amanda Gorman’s Mom Helping Her Do Her Hair For Her Vogue Cover Is The Sweetest Thing Ever

Fierce

Amanda Gorman’s Mom Helping Her Do Her Hair For Her Vogue Cover Is The Sweetest Thing Ever

Pool / Getty

After captivating the world with her performance at the 2021 presidential inauguration, Amanda Gorman has continue to be praised. She was featured in Time Magazines’s Black Renaissance issue, named one of People’s Women Changing the World, and her outfit was copied by a little boy.

Now, she’s gracing the cover of Vogue.

In a series shot by Annie Leibovitz, Gorman wore shoulder-length Senegalese twists.

In a post shared to her Instagram page, Gorman celebrated the new cover by thanking her Vogue beauty team, which included her own mom. “Special thanks to my mom who helped with hair on-set,” she said in her caption.

There’s no denying that the poet Amanda Gorman is a trendsetter. As the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, she stunned the world with her words, grace, poise, and style during the inauguration. Amongst the millions watching her, one little boy, in particular, was paying attention.

Jeremy Rowan, 7, had a chance to dress as his idol for his school’s Spirit Day and picked Gorman as his inspiration.

In an interview with TODAY Parents, Jeremy’s mom, Kimberly Rowan explained that “He really looks up to Amanda — she is such a strong youth leader and role model.” Kimberly shared the image of her son to Twitter with a caption that explained “This little guy chose to dress as Amanda Gorman for “Dress as Your Idol” day at (remote) school. Thank you @TheAmandaGorman for inspiring all of our children to change the world!”

“He said he was dressing as Amanda since he was really enjoying reading her biography and writing a report about her life and poetry,” Kimberly Rowan explained to TODAY Parents. “And when it came to finding the outfit, he knew right where to look: in his closet, the costume box and beyond. He had a blast coming up with the costume.”

Jeremy wore a red microfiber cloth pinned to his hair to copy Gorman’s red headband. He also wore a puffy yellow jacket and wrote about Gorman for his writing class’s biography project. For the assignment, he researched Gorman and wrote his own version of her life story.

His tribute ultimately caught the eye of Gorman.

According to Jeremy’s mother Amanda “replied, writing that she wanted to dress as him for her idol… I was floored.” Gorman also reached out to Jeremy’s mother and asked if she could post the story and photo on social media in honor of World Poetry Day on March 21.

“We were honored, and are still stunned really, by this reaction,” Rowan went onto share. “Then she sent us a beautiful video telling Jeremy how great his photo was. It is really such a special moment for him and I know it will shape who he becomes… The love from Amanda and the world has reaffirmed his choice in dressing as her. I believe this will allow him to continue to make bold choices in the future without the fear that others may react negatively.”

Speaking about Jeremy, Rowan shared that what he liked the most about Amanda Gorman was her use of hands.

“He has said she recites her poetry like it’s a song and uses her hands like she is translating it into sign language,” Rowan explained. “In the conclusion of his biography he wrote, ‘I learned that Amanda Gorman is incredible because she knows that poetry is like using your words (to express your feelings and emotions).'”

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