Ava DuVernay would appreciate it if people would quit referring to her as “Auntie Ava” on Twitter. Recently, the “When They See Us” director sat down with Van Lathan for an episode of The Red Pill Podcast and she had no qualms with letting folks know that she is not at all amused by those shenanigans. It all started when Lathan expressed that he felt the need to refer to the accomplished director as “Miss Ava.”
“Oh my god, that’s horrible,” said DuVernay.
Van, who was clearly confused, asked what was so horrible about it. At this point, Ava opened up about her pet peeve: being called “auntie.”
“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…”
Many of you are probably thinking the same thing Van was thinking, that it shows some level of respect; however, Ava was not buying it. According to the Selma director, it feels like a jab at her age.
“Am I that old?” she questions. “I don’t feel that old. And it’s not a respect thing. Don’t give me that. Auntie Ava? Like Aunt Jemima?”
Van continued to push the respect angle, but Ava wasn’t having it. Personally, I get where Ava is coming from, but I also understand Van’s rationale. In many Black families, you refer to women who are a bit older than you as “auntie” out of respect. For example, I have cousins who are older than my mom and calling them by their first name just feels uncomfortable. I’ve also seen it used as a term of endearment. When I was a teenager, my mother helped me to get a summer job in her office and all of the younger Black girls referred to her as “Auntie Pammy.” They still call her “auntie” to this day and my mom hasn’t worked there in years. She fully embraced the role and never seemed to feel a way about it. However, these are women with whom she actually built relationships. Ava, on the other hand, is referring to random strangers.
I could see how randomly calling a woman, who is of no blood relation to you, “auntie” could be perceived as ageist shade.
What are your thoughts on this debate? Is calling random women “auntie” a bit shady or is it simply demonstrating respect and endearment?