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Watch entrepreneur Nicole Kenney’s TEDx talk on the importance of ‘aunties’ in Black community

The 17-minute talk reviews three major lessons Kenney's learned about the "power of connection, correction and collaboration.”

Nicole Kenney giving her TEDx Talk. (Screenshot)

Nicole Kenney is on a mission to share the power of aunties.

The Philly-based entrepreneur recently led a TEDx talk about the impact aunties — influential, mother-like figures — have had on her life, a thread that’s also inspired her work on tech platform, Hey, Auntie!

The online platform, which won the Well City Challenge in 2021, was created to connect multiple generations of Black women in Philadelphia as a space for community and mentorship. The platform also won the 2021 Award for Invention of the Year.

The November 2022 TEDxGaithersburg talk, titled “Hey Auntie!: How Aunties Changed my Life,” opens with Kenney talking about a time in her life where her family and her aunties offered her support that she was struggling to ask for. She talked about the importance of creating support networks among Black women and explained that not having support can impact long-term health and lifespan.

Kenney’s talk reviews the history of aunties in the Black community and outlined three lessons she’s learned over the years, including the “power of connection, correction and collaboration.” She ended her talk by sharing her own experience being an auntie to her young nephew.

Kenney told in an email that her talk was part of the theme “ideas that write/right the future.”

“I was honored to share how sharing stories across ages and life stages, through the historical and cultural lens of the Black auntie, has been a powerful tool to support the emotional and mental health of Black women for generations,” she said. “It is this very legacy which inspired me to create Hey Auntie! as a culturally competent solution to address racial disparities in our mental health. I’m so grateful that in this talk, I could pay forward some of the words of wisdom that my aunties have given to me — they have changed my life.”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Hey, Auntie!

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