The Auntie Debate: Endearing Or Disrespectful? Ava DuVernay’s Not Here For It, Jackée Harry Loves It

The Auntie Debate: Endearing Or Disrespectful? Ava DuVernay’s Not Here For It, Jackée Harry Loves It

Acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, currently on the promotional tour for her recently released Netflix masterpiece When They See Us, has sparked quite the debate on social media. No, it’s not about the Central Park Five—but instead over the word “auntie,” specifically her preference for not being called by the term.

Ava DuVernay

Many people refer to women of a certain or stature in life as “auntie,” however that doesn’t mean that everyone views the term with the same affection—and Ava DuVernay is one of them. During a recent interview with Van Lathan discussing her limited series When They See Us about the Central Park Five, things took a more lighthearted turn when the topic of DuVernay being called auntie came up.

DuVernay had this to say about people on social media referring to her as “Auntie Ava”:

“…Recently, I’ve been getting called (on Twitter) Auntie Ava. Let me just say, ‘why?’ ‘why?’ I mean, am I that old? ‘Cause I don’t feel that old. It’s not a respect. Auntie Ava like Aunt Jemima? But, we’re not that different in age. Are we? I appreciate that [the intended respect], but I’ve been feeling some kinda way about it cause it popped up like the last year or so, people started calling me that.”

After noticing some of the response to her viewpoint, DuVernay took to Twitter to offer names she prefers to be called instead of auntie:

“For the record, I happily respond to: “Hello, Ms. DuVernay” “Hello, Sis.” “Hello, Queen.” “Hello, Family.” “Hello, Ava” (safest bet) Ms. Ava is fine if you’re under 18. Thanks for showing me respect regardless, Van. Had fun talking to you. Wishing you all good things.”

On the flipside of things, legendary actress Jackée Harry said she doesn’t mind being called auntie at all, even responding to a fan who questioned her about it with this:

“Absolutely! Good luck desexualizing this Auntie.”

At the end of the day it really all comes down to personal preference. If someone prefers to be called one thing over another, we should simply respect their wishes and mind our business—regardless of how we may feel personally.

What are your thoughts on the Auntie Debate? Let us know in the comments!

Authored by: Danielle Jennings