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Here's Why Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King Hate Being Called 'Auntie'

Mary Scott
Jun 17, 2019
08:44 P.M.
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Ava DuVernay recently revealed she does not like being called “Auntie.” Now, her friends Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King are opening up about why they’re totally with DuVernay on this one.

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For different cultures across the world, “Auntie” is a title used out of respect for an older woman, but as it turns out, not everyone finds it ideal.

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DuVernay was recently on Van Lathan’s podcast, “The Red Pill,” where she expressed her dislike for the term. “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?”

'I get that it’s a sign of respect, but no one's calling Beyoncé 'Auntie Beyoncé!'

While the filmmaker’s perspective may come as a shock to some, her friends Winfrey and King feel the same way she does.

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The longtime besties spoke with O, the Oprah Magazine, sharing why they do not like being called “Auntie.” Winfrey, 65, said the term makes her “cringe” and there’s only one exception:

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

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King’s dislike for the word even seemed to be more intense than that of her media mogul friend. The “CBS This Morning” co-host claimed she “hates” it.

'Sometimes strangers refer to me as Lady O, which feels friendly, yet respectful of the age'

“That’s what you say to old people or the old lady who lives in the neighborhood!" the 64-year-old continued. “I get that it’s a sign of respect, but no one's calling Beyoncé 'Auntie Beyoncé!'”

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So what do these women prefer to be called, especially by younger folks who want to respect their personalities and achievements?

"Gayle works!" King said easily.

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"Oprah has worked pretty well for me,” Winfrey echoed, adding:

“Sometimes strangers refer to me as Lady O, which feels friendly, yet respectful of the age difference. It feels appropriate.”

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So there you have it. It’s either Gayle or Oprah or Lady O.

Not forgetting DuVernay, the Oscar nominee announced in a tweet that you may refer to her as “Ms. DuVernay, “Sis,” “Queen,” “Family,” or simply “Ava.”

“Ms. Ava is fine if you’re under 18,” she added.

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