Sunday, June 20, 2021

Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay and Gayle King on Why They Reject Being Called ‘Auntie’

Gayle King, Oprah

*Acclaimed director Ava DuVernay recently made clear that she wants folks to stop calling her “auntie.” And now Oprah and Gayle King are co-signing her sentiment.

As we previously reported, DuVernay recently chopped it up with Van Lathan’s “The Red Pill” podcast and noted how she would appreciate it if people would stop referring to her as “Auntie Ava” on Twitter.

“Oh my god, that’s horrible,” she said. “First of all, I have a real issue. Like, recently, I’ve been getting called on Twitter, ‘Auntie Ava,” she went on. “Well, let me just say, why? Why? I mean…Am I that old? I don’t feel that old. And it’s not a respect thing. Don’t give me that. Auntie Ava? Like Aunt Jemima?”

Lathan explained the term was used because of the “weight that she brings– the importance,” to which DuVernay responded, “I appreciate that.”

However, she admitted, “I’ve been feeling some kinda way about it.”’

Meanwhile, according to Oprah’s O Magazine,Gayle, Ava and Oprah all feel uncomfortable with the “auntie” greeting.

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Winfrey said she frowns upon being called ‘auntie’ in America, but finds it totally acceptable in Africa because it is customary for the natives to do so.

“I cringe being called Auntie or Mama by anybody other than my nieces or godchildren,” she told O Magazine, MadameNoire reports. “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.”

King added that she feels it has more to with age than respect.

“I hate being called Auntie. That’s what you say to old people or the old lady who lives in the neighborhood!” she told O Magazine. “I get that it’s a sign of respect, but no one’s calling Beyoncé ‘Auntie Beyoncé!’ The only ones who should be calling me ‘Aunt’ are my niece and nephew—and they don’t add the ie.”

DuVernay recently took to Twitter and said she prefers to be called “Sis,” “Family,” “Queen,” or just Ava.

“Oprah has worked pretty well for me,” Winfrey said. “Though sometimes strangers refer to me as Lady O, which feels friendly, yet respectful of the age difference. It feels appropriate.”


Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.



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