Ava DuVernay Says She Has a 'Real Issue' with Being Called 'Auntie Ava'

Ava DuVernay has earned the respect of people in and out of the entertainment industry thanks to her vision, creativity, and stand as a black woman. Because of that, some fans have started called her “auntie” on social media, but the director recently revealed why she doesn’t like the nickname.

Academy Award-nominated writer and director, Ava DuVernay, has become a figure that inspires admiration and respect among her peers in and out of the black community. As such, some followers have started to call her “auntie” on social media, a nickname that transpires both respect and endearment.

However, the 46-year-old recently admitted she doesn’t feel flattered by the term at all.


DuVernay sat down with Van Lathan to discuss her new Netflix miniseries “When They See Us” in an episode of “The Red Pill Podcast,” and as the conversation went on, Lathan suddenly explained he felt the need to call Ava “Ms. DuVernay.”

“Oh my god, that’s horrible,” she said in response.

Confused, Lathan tried to explain that he’s from the south and the term is just a way to show respect, which prompted Ava to open up about another label of respect people have bestowed upon her.

“First of all, I have a real issue. Like, recently, I’ve been getting called on Twitter, ‘Auntie Ava,” she said. “Well, let me just say why? Why? I mean…Am I that old? Because I don’t feel that old.”

“And it’s not a respect thing. Don’t give me that. Auntie Ava? Like Aunt Jemima?” she added, as Lathan tried to explain his position, stating that people aren’t looking at her age, but it’s probably more about “the weight that you bring.”

DuVernay admitted she appreciates the intention, but still doesn’t like the “auntie” term.


After the interview was released, “auntie” became a trend on Twitter. DuVernay then took to her account to clarify what other terms people can use to address her, saying:

“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 thanked Lathan for showing respect during their interview and finished her tweet by sending the man her good wishes.


DuVernay’s statement sparked a discussion centered around the term auntie, and its use on social media.

Some people agreed it’s fine to use it on family members, acquaintances, and some superiors; others believe the term is sometimes used to “desexualize” women, and a few stated Ava shouldn’t be offended by the name but proud of it.

Read some of the comments below:

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