Ben & Jerry’s rebrand brews ice cream flavor to encourage black voter turnout

Ben & Jerry’s uses its popular ice cream to encourage voter turnout in black communities.

The ice cream company announced the rebranding of its signature Change Is Brewing ice cream flavor on Tuesday, debuting a new look and direction. Instead of its racial justice reform initiative, Change Is Brewing’s mission will be to help protect voting rights and encourage participation by young black voters ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections. The renowned ice cream is being distributed to historically black colleges and universities and to major cities and rural communities in the Southern states as part of the Black Voters Matter Fund’s “We Won’t Black Down” tour, which kicked off on September 14.

“The ultimate goal is that we can truly build a nation of democracy that we both desire and deserve,” said LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund.

As with the initial launch of Change Is Brewing, Ben & Jerry’s has collaborated with black entrepreneurs for the rebrand. He hired multidisciplinary artist Laci Jordan, who designed the ice cream container, and enlisted BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages for the ingredients for the ice cream cafe. The limited-time dessert, which is expected to arrive in the coming weeks, is a mix of cold brew, marshmallows and fudge brownie bits.

The name change comes after some companies faced backlash for incorporating black culture and initiatives into their products. In May, Walmart came under fire following the release of its June 19-themed ice cream, which many on social media slammed as a form of cultural appropriation. With the Change Is Brewing initiative, however, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield said the goal was not to make sales, but to support the black community.

“We try to partner with people who do the work and get the benefit of nothing,” Greenfield said.

The ice cream company’s involvement in voting rights and racial justice initiatives for the black community is not new. In 2016, Ben & Jerry’s tapped social activist and minister Reverend William Barber II to help launch its Empower Mint flavor, which aimed to raise awareness of North Carolina’s voter ID law. . Greenfield said there’s still work to be done and he hopes the “We Won’t Black Down” tour counters those who set up roadblocks for black voters.

“In today’s political climate, there are a lot of burdens being imposed to make it harder for people to vote,” Greenfield said, “and we’re trying to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have their vote count.”

Meanwhile, Brown said giving Change Is Brewing ice cream to marginalized communities helps engage voters and allows for conversations about important topics, such as the cost of living and health care, that many voters care about. black. She also said her organization is fighting voting restrictions, seen in places like Georgia through the closing of polls.

“You’d be amazed at how powerful ice cream is in terms of getting people to… talk about what interests them,” Brown said. “What are their fears. What are their desires.

The “We Won’t Black Down” tour will then travel to North Carolina and Texas.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.

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