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Cheryl's World

MY TRUTH: Aunties need love too

Dr. Shewanda Riley has had an impressive career, and now she is adding an exciting dimension to her portfolio as she launches her podcast, “The Chocolate Auntie”.


Actually for “Auntie Wanda,” the podcast takes her back to her days as a radio personality in the 1990s, before she became a columnist for The Dallas Weekly, a college professor, and received her Ph.D.

On the show, Auntie Wanda says, “listen for ‘Auntastic’ discussions about pop culture, news, faith and literature!”

Recently, I appeared on her show, and it was great experiencing the continued evolution of Auntie Wanda.

Which brings me to my truth.

For decades, I have lectured folks about declaring themselves as “grown.”

It seems when adults talked to their children about being “grown,” the conversations possibly didn’t go as deep as they should have.

Children are told when they become 18 they are adults, and they can, among other things:

  • Stay out as long as they want
  • Drink alcohol Date who they want
  • Go to bed whenever
  • Choose their own friends
  • Do what they want, when they want, how they want and with whom they want

You get the picture!

Unfortunately, however; too many times the conversation doesn’t dive deeper into what as an adult is expected, including:

  • Pay own bills
  • Get a job
  • Contribute to the household financially
  • Still do chores if you live with someone
  • Realize that you have to respect the rules of the homeowner — or plan an exit strategy.

Equally important, they need to be told that if you are an “adult,” you may not have to tell people where you are going, but you might think twice about it, because respect is a factor, or guess what? You might even need an alibi!

Oh, but instead, these pseudo adults walk around like they are big and bad, saying they don’t have to answer to anybody but as soon as they face the smallest dilemma, they are coming to a “real adult” to get support. In other words, they resort back to the role of a dependent.

I tried to be an adult, to act responsibly and didn’t consider myself to be “grown” until both of my parents were deceased. Sure I was an adult, but I could never bring myself to tell Joseph or Earline that I was “grown.”

I really took to heart sentences that began, “As long as you live,” or “As long as you’re Black…”

Let’s face it. We are a work in progress. We are under construction. We are evolving, constantly changing, pivoting and hopefully, growing.

And that is what I saw in Auntie Wanda. So I am looking forward to tuning in to her podcast and you can listen and subscribe at

Auntie Wanda knows what it is to be an auntie and she knows the value of aunties to many families. That she has chosen to highlight their stories is a wonderful use of her skills and talents.

According to, aunts are very important and that special relationship can have a positive effect on the upbringing of nieces and nephews.

I salute the aunties of the world, both custodial and noncustodial. I also encourage them to continue giving those much-needed lessons to help build constructive and productive members of society by explaining what being an adult entails as well as the process of evolving.

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