M. C. MoHagani Magnetek

2023 Fellowship AwardLiterary Arts/Scriptworks

2023 Fellowship Award

Magnetek, a cultural anthropologist, will write a stage play, “Just Add Water: Reparations for My Soul,” an examination of the lives of the women who portrayed Aunt Jemima on pancake and syrup packaging and advertising. This play will investigate the nuanced history of race and gender equality through the lens of the unacknowledged women who portrayed Aunt Jemima from 1893-2020.

Recently, the image of Aunt Jemima was removed from packaging that was rebranded as Pearl Milling Company in a reckoning with racist roots. The descendants of the women who depicted Aunt Jemima are dismayed because of their removal from history. Magnetek’s curiosity about this removal led her to an book, “Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima,” written by M.M. Manning in 1998 about the legacy of minstrel shows and representation of African American women in America. Magnetek wants to preserve and tell these stories directly and honestly on stage.

Magnetek with her first draft.
The inspiration.
MoHagani Magnetek writing and researching Aunt Jemima.