‘I Cringe’: Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King and Ava DuVernay Say They ‘Hate’ Being Referred to As ‘Auntie’

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Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King appreciate that young people address them respectfully, but they hate being referred to as “auntie.”

It’s a term that a lot of millennials use when referring to the women as a sign of respect, and other female celebrities have been hit with the tag as well.

Gayle King (left), Oprah Winfrey (center) and Ava DuVernay (right) said they don’t like being called “auntie.” (Photo: Michael Kovac / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Winfrey and King were asked about the nickname after Ava DuVernay, who’s also called auntie, spoke about the term in a recent interview.

“Auntie Ava? Why? Am I that old? Because I don’t feel that old,” she said on Van Lathan’s “The Red Pill” podcast earlier this month. “And it’s not a respect thing. Auntie Ava like Aunt Jemima?”

DuVernay also sent a tweet after the interview and told people just how to address her.

“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 wrote on June 4.

Winfrey and King were asked about the auntie title on OprahMag.com earlier this month, and just like DuVernay they detest it.

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

As for King, she believes 85 is the appropriate age for someone to be called “Auntie,” not her age, which is 64. Winfrey, meanwhile, is 65 years old and DuVernay is 46.

“I hate being called auntie. That’s what you say to old people or the old lady who lives in the neighborhood,” stated 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 best friends then told people to simply use their names when addressing them.

“Gayle works,” said King.

“Oprah has worked pretty well for me,” the former talk show host followed. “Though sometimes strangers refer to me as Lady O, which feels friendly, yet respectful of the age difference. It feels appropriate.”

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