Essence Music Festival in New Orleans is a destination for women of color on Fourth of July weekend. This year, headliners included Frankie Beverly and Maze as well as Charlie Wilson. Both are the hotties of their generation. Jezebel investigated which vintage bae still riles up their fans and asked the black auntie set who they’d rather smash: Frankie or Charlie?

It was a tough call for the many women we surveyed—each man has his strengths. Discovered by the ultimate sex bomb Marvin Gaye, Frankie Beverly and Maze went on to create the unofficial black national anthem “Before I Let Go,” its runner-up “Joy and Pain,” and tour America’s Jazz fest circuit like the Grateful Dead, just with all white outfits and two-stepping. Uncle Charlie, on the other hand, saved Snoop Dogg’s marriage, moves like he’s 22 and routinely helps contemporary stars take their albums to the next level (see Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or Snoop’s Bush as examples).

Here’s what America’s aunties had to say:

Auntie Maureen and Auntie BJ (pictured at top): Definitely Charlie! But we’ve been watching Maze for years, we love Frankie Beverly too!

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Auntie Jan: Charlie’s got that energy, the older he becomes the richer his talent becomes. He relates to the people, you can feel him, it’s electric.

Auntie Maureen: He’s genuine, real, he’s the people’s people!

Auntie BJ: We can’t remember the first time we saw them, that’s what happens when you’re born in the ‘50s!

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Auntie Maureen: But don’t get it twisted, we’re Maze fans first. I got my white hat first, then I had to get my outfit to match my hat!

Auntie Vanessa (at left): Charlie, Charlie, Charlie! Oh my God! That’s why I came here from South Carolina, for Charlie, Charlie, Charlie! Maze, I love them too but they’d have to do what Charlie just did and I don’t think they can.

Auntie Lisa: Charlie Wilson, he’s just really charismatic and he’s lived this amazing life. He’s got this sex appeal.

Auntie Adrienne: It has to be Charlie Wilson. I’ve seen Maze so many times but Charlie has the energy and he just makes you want to move. Maze keeps you up also but Charlie’s got a different energy. He’s exciting!

Auntie Angela: Both! They’re both sexy and handsome for their age! But Charlie would be able to ride out the night.

Auntie Anita: Frankie has been around a looooooong, looooooong time but Charlie still got it.

Auntie Rue: I’ll stay with Frankie, he’s so smooth! He’s got the baseball cap and the salt and pepper hair. He’s too smooth for me, the all white, he’s crisp and does something to me. I don’t want to… I’m not going to say I don’t want to hear him sing, but I’ve been listening to him for years so I’ll rather snuggle with him on the couch, listen to some CDs and drink some wine.

Auntie (and Officer) Butler: Because I’m special like that and because of my nature, I’ll take them both!

Auntie Bobbie: I can’t decide? OK, I’ll have to have my romantic evenings with Charlie, you know what I mean? He’s got the spunk, that stamina. Frankie might cuddle you a little bit though!

Auntie Mary: Charlie Wilson... wait, are you serious? He’s just a little more… he’s younger.

Auntie Carla: Charlie, because he has more stamina than Frankie. Frankie’s more an uncle now, you’d pat him on the back. I love him but I don’t know if he could really help out or do his part during the romantic night! I’m just saying! I could be wrong…

Auntie Dorinda: Frankie! They’re both older and mature but Frankie looks like he’ll just smooth you out! He’ll massage you, he’ll sing to you, I just love him! That’s it, that’s all I need! Rub my feet and I’m gone!


Contact the author at Hillary@jezebel.com.

Images via Jezebel’s resident husband photographer, Lemu Coker.