Wrapping Paper Roll Call: In Celebration of Big Auntie Energy

Illustration for article titled Wrapping Paper Roll Call: In Celebration of Big Auntie Energy
Photo: AS photostudio (Shutterstock)

We aren’t your moms—but we love up on you like you’re our own. We’re always here with an ear and ready to come through in the clutch. We give the best hugs, the best advice, and the best gifts. We know how to turn up—but always hold you down. We’re your aunties...and what have you done for us, lately?


If you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty big on aunties here at The Root. Not only does one of our editors host a series titled Auntie Unfiltered (which you should check out, if you haven’t already), but most of The Root’s editorial leadership is comprised of aunties—which might explain why our content is equal parts educational, unflinching, empathetic, and entertaining. As many a Black community knows, aunties are both the cornerstones and the largely unsung heroes—in fact, we comprise much of that storied “village” it takes to raise a child. While we’re sometimes blood relations, we’re often also friends, neighbors, in-laws, and mentors, as recently noted in British Vogue:

[A]long with my mom, my aunties were visions of what life could look like when I eventually decided who I would be—a panorama of Black womanhood that included professionals, stay-at-home mothers, and the flyest “spinsters” I had ever seen. And by virtue of the ease they had in their bodies, my aunties radiated an attitude of feeling good about yourself, especially the healthier and curvier you were, that predated the idea of body positivity...I still aim for the flair of my favorite aunties when I pick clothes, move through the world, and reflect on how I feel about myself. So much about having aunties is the emotional experience of always feeling looked after...

“Every child should have a childless auntie with a good job,” my best friend frequently joked in college. Twenty years later, I am that auntie, regularly spoiling her son (my godson) and my niece and nephew with an abundance of gifts and cuddles. So when I spotted Ebonée Woodfork, co-founder of the recently launched lifestyle brand Rich Auntie Energy, in our shared neighborhood wearing a logo-bearing jogger set (coincidentally, while shopping for the little ones in our respective lives), I felt...seen.

“Rich Auntie Energy was really just like an affirmation that just turned into a lifestyle,” Woodfork explained on a recent phone call. “It really started as jokes on social media—you know, the memes that go around, especially around holidays, about the rich auntie sitting there...I just wanted to make something that represented me and wanted it to be more than just a meme...I wanted to solidify my place in this crazy world.”

After a shot of her self-affirming tee earned rave reviews on social media, her sister (and fellow auntie) Alexis Caldwell convinced Woodfork to channel Rich Auntie Energy into a full lifestyle brand, which the duo launched this June.


“We’re the single childless aunties who are super proud of our station in life, and we’re super proud of the power and the freedom that comes with it, especially because so many young, successful Black women are told that they aren’t successful if they don’t have a man to their left and a child to their right,” said Woodfork. “And we want women to know that you still have power and you should own that power, and there’s nothing wrong with living the life that you want to live. We don’t have to follow anyone’s rules. We make our own rules; we’re rich aunties.”


Still, you don’t have to be rich, single or childless to embody the brand’s energy. As Woodfork explains, the Rich Auntie ethos is about being abundant in love, wisdom and quintessential auntie-ness.

“Rich Auntie is for all aunties—young aunties, adventurous aunties, single aunties, married aunties...I don’t want people to think Rich Auntie is only for single, childless women,” says Woodfork. “Rich Auntie Energy is really, when I think about it first, I think about the women who raised me and the women who nurtured and mentored me. Those are my aunts, by relation and relationships.”


This Black Friday, Rich Auntie Energy’s “Rich Auntie Gang” and “Lit Auntie Energy” shirts are on sale—with free shipping for all orders. What else do your aunties (and moms, and sisters, and sister-friends) deserve this holiday season?

54 Thrones

None other than perhaps the world’s most famous auntie, Oprah endorsed this luxury skincare line—and what better way to show your favorite auntie that she’s royalty in your book than with 54 Thrones? Better yet, you don’t have to choose favorites; right now, buy one of the Beauty Butter Tins Auntie O loves and get another for 54 percent off with the code “BOGO54.”


Pat McGrath Labs

If your auntie was the type to graciously let you play in her makeup, how about giving her an instant beauty upgrade in appreciation? When it comes to makeup, there’s no line more luxurious than Pat McGrath—and ‘tis the season to cop some rare deals, since she’s offering 25 to 30 percent off her very luxury-level prices (we can’t recommend her Mthrshp Mega: Celestial Divinity palette enough—but check out her kits inspired by supermodel auntie Naomi Campbell, too!). Want even more bang for your buck? Head over to Anastasia Beverly Hills to cop their collaboration with one of the world’s most glamorous aunties, the Jackie Aina Palette Vault,


Darling Playing Cards by Morgan Harper Nichols

For your Spades or Bid Whist-loving auntie, a deck from Darling’s collaboration with Morgan Harper Nichols might help her keep her game face. These beautifully illustrated, high-quality cards are the perfect way to distract opponents while running a Boston.


Loza Tam

Let’s be honest—every auntie loves a good bonnet, and Loza Tam’s satin-lined turbans are so chic, she’ll wear them well beyond bedtime. This year, we’re loving their new luxe satin collection; the four-way stretch makes the fit flawless, and right now, the entire site is 25 percent off with the code “HOLIDAY25".


Grace Eleyae

Speaking of satin-lined, Grace Eleyae has long had us covered with her trademark “Slap” caps, but her line of satin-lined wool hats are the style statement we’ll be pairing with our coats and masks this winter. Protective and posh, too? Sounds like an auntie. (And seriously, what auntie doesn’t love a good hat?) Catch the site’s pre-Black Friday sale; Slaps are discounted, and select items are 50 percent off.


Ojai Lingerie

In case you weren’t aware, aunties want to feel sexy, too—and comfortable, and supported... Whether your auntie’s lingerie drawer needs are practical or provocative, Ojai Lingerie has the goods—and you can save yourself the embarrassment of shopping for her intimates; we’re betting a gift card would be welcome. Is your auntie of the extra-sexy variety? Treat her to a gift card from Savage x Fenty, which is currently boasting 65 percent off sitewide—after all, Rihanna’s an auntie, too.


Ivory Paper Co.

Whew, aunties have a lot to do—we pride ourselves on staying booked and busy (and in your business)! So, why not treat yours to a customized planner or journal from Ivory Paper Co.? Right now, the entire site is 30 percent off—because the only thing better than being organized is within budget.


Ordinary Habit

Lord knows we’ve all been in need of new hobbies this year, and with a long, sequestered winter ahead, suddenly puzzles are finding new appeal (and go very well with that streaming habit we already have going). Ordinary Habit has put a very grown-up spin on the all-ages activity, collaborating on culturally competent designs with artists Ojima Abalaka and Shanee Benjamin, among others. Right now, it’s 15 percent off sitewide.


Something for the Aunties

This auntie-honoring brand’s logo is simple, declarative and beloved by the likes of Cynthia Erivo and Beyoncé’s stylist Zerina Akers. Since we know aunties come in all shapes, sizes and ages, we seriously dig the collegiate motif.


Adinkra’s Jewels

As Vogue noted, aunties are rarely short on style—in fact, we’re known for it. The bold and beautiful designs of Adinkra’s Jewels are the perfect way to pay tribute to the aunties in your personal village, evoking the place of honor they hold in our lives and communities. May they never, ever change.



As it turns out, there’s more than one rich auntie on the block—which is fine, because there are never too many, as far as we’re concerned! Besides, influencer and bestselling author Ty Alexander’s online shop Obsessorized has expanded well beyond the auntie genre, meaning you can celebrate all the other qualities that make Black women great, too.


Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?