For the longest time, Oprah has and is still one of our favorite rich aunties. I mean where would we be without this auntie, what with her biggest gifts that she comes bearing every so often including cars. But Auntie is no longer happy and we don’t know what to do.
In an interview with her OprahMag.com, Oprah said this “I cringe being called Auntie or Mama by anybody other than my nieces or godchildren,” Oprah says. “Except if I’m in Africa, where it’s the custom for everybody to refer to anyone older as ‘Sister,’ or ‘Auntie,’ depending on the age difference. And there, no one refers to anyone older by their first name, out of respect.”
This came after When They See Us director Ava DuVernay in an interview, admitted she doesn’t love it when she sees people call her “Auntie Ava” on Twitter.
“Auntie Ava? Why? Am I that old?!” she asked. “Because I don’t feel that old! And it’s not a respect thing…Auntie Ava, like…Aunt Jemima?” Ava is 46 yrs old.
In many places around the world—from India to Africa to Hawaii—placing the title “Auntie” or “Aunty” before someone’s name who is not your actual aunt is seen as a sign of respect. It’s also common in Black culture here in America—for instance, when an older Black woman achieves something great, on Twitter, you can expect to see plenty of tweets reading: “Yasssss, Auntie So-and-So!”
So please stop it. No more Auntie Oprah or Auntie Gayle or Auntie anyone for that matter. Just stop it. Well, this will take a while, for now we shall retreat to the corner to find another name for our favorite Aunties. Leave that term for your aunties in Africa with Harriers, ONLY.