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Jackie Aina, 2017

Jackie Aina Source: Variety / Getty

Jackie Aina is an aspirational influencer, entrepreneur and internet OG. She is not your auntie, and she does not want to be. She also displays minimal interest in being your big sister, guardian angel, or spiritual guru, and you need to be okay with that. If you can’t be, then you should work on that. 

Aina told her followers she did not want to be addressed as auntie. She explained why the term made her uncomfortable, describing the pressures she felt accompanied it very clearly. 

Adulting By Force

“You get to your mid-30s, and you start looking back at what are supposed to be your youthful years, and you’re like, wait a minute. So I’ve just been an adult my whole life,” said Aina in a video posted on TikTok. 

The clip was filled with vulnerability. “I just woke up one day, and I was like, you know what, wisdom, it’s not my entire personality tree, and also, I don’t know everything,” she continued. “I never really got to be young,” she added. Adultification forced her into maturing faster than she would have liked to. “My childhood was terrible. We ain’t doing no story times on that one. Then I got to my 20s, and it’s like, I had to be five years older than I really was.” 

She advised her millions of followers to consider the people in their social circles facing similar tensions. “Everybody that is watching this and cannot relate to this. I guarantee you, you have a friend in your group that is that person, and behind closed doors, is probably not doing that great. Go check on that person,” she said. 

E! People's Choice Awards - Arrivals

Source: David Crotty / Getty

Rejecting Auntie

Aina is not the only public figure who has rejected the term “auntie.” Ava DuVernay, Oprah and Gayle have also publicly denounced the term and its implied responsibilities. 

People hopped in the comments quickly to question if they were the exception to the rule. Some of them were blocked and made videos about the experience, resenting the enforcement of Aina’s boundaries. They quipped about the cultural context of the term and detailed what she meant to them. 

The thing is, Aina did not ask you for a history lesson, and she did not offer you a therapy session. She set a boundary and began blocking people taunting her by refusing to accept the requirements. 

Their determination bordered on disrespect, and she responded in kind. 

Mammy By Another Name

Others commented that the auntie expectations were tied to the traditional mammy caricature Black women are expected to fulfill both inside and outside of their communities.

Aina acknowledges her seniority in the influencer space in ways she is comfortable with. She supports independent businesses. She cosigns independent creators.

2019 E! People's Choice Awards - Arrivals

Jackie Aina Source: Rodin Eckenroth / Getty

Jackie Aina filled her Forvr Mood fragrance launch with creators who looked up to her and were as happy to be in her presence as she was to have their support. It was the hip, sexy, youthful party she wanted to introduce her product to the world. “I feel my age, and I actually kind of want to enjoy it,” concluded Aina in the TikTok video.

Thinking fondly of Aina does not permit you to violate her boundaries. She reserves the right to choose who is allowed to engage with her and how they are allowed to engage with her. Aina has a fun and cool job. You feel like you know her, but you don’t. Even if you did know her, that would not give you carte blanche to disrespect her by forcing her to accept your projection.

Black women get to set their own professional boundaries, no matter what industry they work in. Listen to them when they express discomfort with how they are defined by outside forces.

Put some respect on the Forvr Mood founder’s chosen name.


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If Jackie Aina Says Don’t Call Her Auntie, We Should Listen  was originally published on