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Rich Aunties: Moving Beyond Motherhood and Materialism

I remember going to my eldest niece’s birthday and being asked to head to the store to purchase some of the last items for the party. As I left, she begged to go with me and, of course, I couldn’t say no. As we got to the till, I asked her if she wanted something, and surprisingly she replied, “The most expensive thing you can afford here, Auntie!” Inevitably, I burst out laughing as she picked herself a pack of chewing gum and some random juice from the top shelf. Still, I wondered, how did she come up with that sentence? I then asked her what she meant, and she explained that her parents had told her that “Auntie Mila is the richest auntie you’ve got, and she’ll always be there for whatever you need.” 

Nonetheless, that story became our private joke. I’m aware that the word “rich” implies extensive monetary wealth and the acquisition of expensive material items. Yet, I learned from that cheeky little sentence that to be the ‘rich auntie’, for me, went way beyond living my best life all while being childless and free of social expectations. After extensive conversations with my friends, I realised that this trope often represents upward mobility, agency over self, and independence. Still, it often neglects crucial narratives of empowerment, motherhood-with-a-twist and a push towards positive development for the children in our circle, especially Black girls. Thus, I intend to analyse how being the ‘rich auntie’ can also support and uplift future generations of Black girls.