Master P has launched a line of “Uncle P” food products to offer consumers a Black-owned alternative to brands that use Black names and imagery, but don’t often give back to Black communities.
The New Orleans rapper and serial entrepreneur told CNN that he had always assumed brands like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s were Black-owned. It wasn’t until recently, when some brands began to be phased out for perpetuating harmful racial stereotypes, that he learned about their problematic histories — and decided to do something about it.
His new line of “Uncle P’s Louisiana Seasoned” food products includes rice, beans, grits, pancake mix, syrup and oatmeal. A portion of the profits will go towards educating inner city kids and assisting elderly people in Black communities across the United States.
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My partner and I, James Lindsey, created PJ Foods Company to give the world a taste of Louisiana’s authentically seasoned white rice, yellow rice, brown rice, dirty rice, and red beans and rice, while adding diversity in the packaged food shelving space. We are opening the doors for other black-owned companies to produce their own products and brands to change the narrative.
“When you look at Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, a lot of those products are mockeries of African-American people and couldn’t even feed our communities. With Uncle P, the more we make, the more we give. And the only way to give is by owning these products,” P said.
The Uncle P’s brand will aim to create more job opportunities with upward mobility for Black people, P said. He also wants to use a portion of the profits to develop real estate in Black neighborhoods.
“Right now we’re burning down our blocks and our communities while protesting injustice, but if we are able to own products and put money back in our community, we could buy those blocks back instead of burning them down,” he said.
“If they made billions of dollars off Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben, imagine how much we’ll make to give back to our own community. It’ll be us helping us without having to wait for the government. We can actually change the world.”
It’s a change P genuinely believes is possible. After all, the self-made millionaire forged his music and business empire from a mere $10,000 malpractice settlement that he received after his grandfather’s death. From there, he opened a record store, started a record label, and invested in a range of industries, including clothing, fast food and sports management.
Although P launched his food products in March, many consumers didn’t really take notice until larger brands began retiring and changing their controversial logos months later in response to ongoing Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Now the brand is trying to keep up with demand from major stores.
“I’m grateful that I’m in a position to add some diversity in packaged foods,” P said.
“It’s not just about having the Uncle P products, but also having a good cause behind it. I’m happy that I can make a difference in my communities.”
Uncle P’s products are currently available at grocery stores across the country.