While promoting the upcoming premiere of the Starz spinoff Power Book II: Ghost, Mary J. Blige was asked by HipHollywood about fans of her music, and those among them who like to refer to her, affectionately of course, as “Auntie Mary.” Blame it on her long, storied career — or maybe all the dancing? Whatever the reasoning, as it turns out, the 49-year-old star actually kind of hates the term.
“I was literally thinking, ‘Why can’t I just be your sister? And there’s women that are way older than me calling me auntie,” she said during the interview. “I’m like, come on B. Come on. Can’t I just be your sister? Your friend in your head? The auntie is like, come on. Not if you’re 10 years older than me. Please don’t call me auntie. I’ll be your sister and your friend in your head.”
Blige joins other women in Hollywood who don’t seem to find the term so endearing.
Last year, director Ava DuVernay expressed her confusion with being called “auntie,” and Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King chimed in to say they weren’t feeling it either.
“Auntie Ava? Why? Am I that old?!” the 48-year-old asked. “Because I don’t feel that old! And it’s not a respect thing…Auntie Ava, like…Aunt Jemima?”
Winfrey, 66, said she is only okay with being called “auntie” by certain people.
“I cringe being called Auntie or Mama by anybody other than my nieces or godchildren,” she said to her publication, O Magazine. “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.”
“I hate being called Auntie. That’s what you say to old people or the old lady who lives in the neighborhood!” King, 65, shared. “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.”
So moving forward, maybe try calling those not so comfortable with auntie, “Sis”? Or Ms.? Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever doesn’t get you cursed out should suffice…
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