Should We Call Respected Black Women ‘Auntie’?
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for THR

When Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King told the world not to call them “auntie,” the whole world of Black folks, who use the word as a term of endearment and respect, sighed a heavy sigh.

Even though many Black people use “auntie” to show respect and reverence, women like DuVernay, who has gotten the title tagged onto her first name, said she feels the word ages them.

“Why?! Why?! Am I that old? Because I don’t feel that old,” DuVernay said in a recent interview.

On the BET blue carpet held last month, ESSENCE asked other Black celebrities how they feel about the term “auntie.”

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“I don’t want to be called auntie,” Insecure star Amanda Seales admitted. “I’m sis. I’m cousin.”

R&B singer Elle Varner said it best.

“I think it’s on a case by case basis,” she explained, adding that you can’t go around calling folks ‘auntie’ or assuming they’re fine with the moniker.

Power star Rotimi, however, said he “doesn’t see anything wrong with it.”

Check out the video above to hear celebrities, including Method Man and Erica Campbell, weigh in on this new debate.


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