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There’s a special place in our heart for aunties who, for generations, have been the backbone of the Black community. Without their discernment, guidance and shade, we’d be raggedy, wayward and ashy without the necessary gems to live our best life.

Whether it’s nourishing souls with Sunday dinner, finding amazing sales at the outlet mall, dripping opulence in fancy QVC accoutrements, stylin’ in snazzy outfits at Essence Fest or sending care packages during the pandemic, aunties (and grandmothers) are national treasures who deserve their flowers.

Now, with that said, we’re fully aware that not all of our legends want to be called “auntie” despite most Black folks using the term to honor elders who aren’t related to them.

In a hilariously petty saga, Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay and Gayle King pushed back against the term of endearment in an interview with Oprah Mag.

“I cringe being called Auntie or Mama by anybody other than my nieces or godchildren,” Winfrey explained. “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.”

As for King, she believes 85 is the appropriate age for someone to be called “auntie,” not her age (65).

“I hate being called auntie. That’s what you say to old people or the old lady who lives in the neighborhood,” said King. “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.”

The longtime BFFs would rather people use their names when addressing them.

“Gayle works,” said King.

“Oprah has worked pretty well for me,” said Oprah about what she prefers to be called by the younger generation. “Though sometimes strangers refer to me as Lady O, which feels friendly, yet respectful of the age difference. It feels appropriate.”

This all started when DuVernay appeared on Van Lathan’s ‘Red Pill’ podcast and addressed being called “auntie.”

“Auntie Ava? Why? Am I that old? Because I don’t feel that old,” she said. “And it’s not a respect thing. Auntie Ava like Aunt Jemima?”

She later tweeted that she would rather be called “Sis,” “Family,” “Queen,” or just Ava instead of auntie which, naturally, sparked social media hysteria.

“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,” she added.

Who’s your fave auntie of all-time? Tell us down below and enjoy our legendary list of iconic aunties on the flip.

Aretha Franklin

The Queen Diva supreme reigns as the ultimate auntie whose golden catalog, extravagant style and effortless shade (that inspired countless GIFs/memes) will live in our hearts and souls forever.

Della Reese

The transcendent actress brought a regal presence to every role over her storied career that ascended with classic show “Touched By An Angel”–a soul-stirring series beloved by every muumuu-wearing auntie with a TV.

Phylicia Rashad

Known by many as sharp attorney, loving wife and style icon ‘Clair Huxtable’ from “The Cosby Show,” the award-winning actress continues to shine as one of Hollywood’s most dynamic performers (who plays sweet just as well as she plays sinister) over the past four decades.

Anita Baker Performs At Radio City

Source: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Anita Baker

Detroit’s Soul diva supreme made timeless classics on repeat in Heaven while providing the official Saturday morning house cleaning soundtrack in Black households.

Loretta Devine

The quintessential auntie is classy, delightful and supremely talented with decades worth of classic roles that resonate to this day. There’s really no one like thee Loretta Devine.

Patti LaBelle

Auntie Patti has lived a LIFE as an iconic songstress (with or without shoes on) and beloved pie maven (responsible for riots inside Walmart) who continues to thrive as one of the original Soul diva supremes in music history.

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Lynn Whitfield

Some know her as flame-spewing matriarch ‘Lady Mae’ from hit OWN show “Greenleaf.” Others  remember her iconic psychotic break in “A Thin Line Between Love & Hate.”

Either way, she’s a true powerhouse with several unforgettable roles over her illustrious career.

Blackstress Janet Hubert

The OG Aunt Viv will live forever in our hearts as thee Aunt Viv who spent years fighting misconceptions that she recently cleared up at the long-awaited ‘Fresh Prince’ reunion on HBO Max.

Iyanla Vanzant

It’s never mattered whether Iyanla actually fixed someone’s life or not. We were just there for the big auntie energy and messy shenanigans that made her a pop culture obsession.

Angela Bassett

One of the greatest actresses of her era who deserved an Oscar for her iconic portrayal of ‘Tina Turner’ in classic biopic “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

For years, she’s shined as the standard for class and grace with an ageless elegance that pops on screen.

Gladys Knight

A true legend and icon who changed the chicken and waffle game forever with “Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles”–one of Atlanta’s most iconic tourist attractions ever.

Debbie Allen

At this point, it’s safe to say she invented dance as the Queen Mother of Black performing arts for decades. She’s that legendary with a golden legacy that touches every corner of the show biz industry.

Chaka Khan

The spicy Diva supreme is so iconic that Whitney Houston shouted her out while covering her timeless classic “Im Every Woman.” True to herself, she refuses to play nice as one of the shadiest legends not named Mariah Carey.

Jenifer Lewis

She’s played everybody’s mama and appeared in countless Black classics as the ‘mother of Black Hollywood’ with a larger-than-life personality that’s sure to be a HOOT on ABC’s upcoming “Black-ish” spin-off “Old-ish.”

Jackée Harry

The sitcom legend is beloved by generations who grew up laughing at her shenanigans on classic Black shows like “227” and “Sister, Sister.” She’s also hilarious (and hip) on Twitter. If you’re not following her, you definitely should.

Mary J. Blige

The undisputed Queen of Hip-Hop Soul isn’t the biggest fan of being called an auntie but we mean well with these flowers and hope she’s having an amazing day.



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