Walmart pulls Juneteenth special-edition ice cream after social media backlash

Walmart pulls Juneteenth special-edition ice cream after social media backlash

Published May 24, 2022
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Walmart’s Juneteenth private-label ice cream quickly drew criticism for trivializing and cashing in on a federal holiday hat commemorates Black people’s emancipation from centuries of slavery.

Walmart’s Juneteenth fanfare has quickly melted.

The retail giant has pulled a Juneteenth special-edition ice cream after receiving social media backlash. Critics accuse the retail giant of trivializing and cashing in on an event that commemorates Black people’s emancipation from U.S. slavery. 

The ice cream comes in a red-velvet swirl with cheesecake flavor in a packaging with African colors and Black hands giving a high-five, with the messaging, “Share and celebrate African-American culture, emancipation and enduring hope.” The ice cream is nearly identical to one sold at Walmart by a Black-owned brand, Creamalicious. It also comes in a red-velvet cheesecake flavor. 

WHAT IT MEANS: Juneteenth was just the beginning of freedom for Black Texans

Another criticism has been the trademark logo on the Walmart ice cream, indicating that the retailer owns the trademark. According to Ad Age, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has no record of Walmart owning or applying for a Juneteenth trademark. 

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Walmart offers a variety of Juneteenth merchandise, including apparel, party supplies and wine. Critics claim the company does little to support the Black community, yet is capitalizing on a Black American holiday. The ice cream, though, has been deemed more offensive than other products. 

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Locally, H-E-B has an assortment of Juneteenth party goods, though the grocery chain is known for its community outreach and support of efforts in communities of color.  

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, to bring the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Texas, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The day was made a federal holiday last year.

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