Dionne Warwick's Niece Brittani Talks Auntie's Viral Tweets: 'I Told Her to Just Do It'
"Aunt Dionne is very much the kind of person that has quick inquisitive thoughts. She'll tell you in a heartbeat that she's nosy. She's always wondering things," Warrick says
From roasting The Weeknd and Chance The Rapper to lauding Taylor Swift to beefing with Wendy Williams, Dionne Warwick's unexpected social media presence has brought a chuckle to her followers on Twitter.
Several weeks ago, the legendary singer revealed that her niece Brittani Warrick was the one who helped get her started on the app, leading many to believe that the 80-year-old star is not the person responsible for her viral status updates.
However, Auntie Dionne is.
"She doesn't really ask me anything. She just does it herself," Warrick tells PEOPLE. "She's making me say 'DW Team' on tweets I send because she's sick of people asking if it's really her doing it."
"Aunt Dionne is very much the kind of person that has quick inquisitive thoughts. She'll tell you in a heartbeat that she's nosy. She's always wondering things," Warrick adds. "I managed her social for a long time for her tours and things like that. But in this pandemic, I thought it might be good for her to jump on and just be herself and Twitter was the place to do that!"
Warrick — who works full-time as the co-president of Web Net 1, a digital presence agency — also serves as Dionne's social and branding director and has been doing so for several years. She says seeing the "fruits of her labor" get recognized feels good and that working with her auntie, well, is just part of her job.
"Dionne is one of my clients and she just happens to be my aunt as well," she says with a laugh. "The great thing about Aunt Dionne is she brings such joy just by being herself, even if she's being very firm and stern with you, it's through love."
Saturday Night Live even did a play on Dionne's recent Twitter fame by making her the host of a talk show à la Wendy Williams — and Punkie Johnson played Warrick, acting as Dionne's producer. For Warrick, she was happy to see SNL's Black comedians, especially Johnson, get some screen time in the silly skit.
"The softness in [Punkie's] voice when she's speaking to Aunt Dionne, that's how we communicate to each other," she says. "The rapport was very accurate for sure."
Warrick says being near people in the spotlight isn't anything new for her. Aside from Aunt Dionne, the late Whitney Houston was her cousin and she's also related to actor John Witherspoon, who created The Boondocks.
"When I was younger, I didn't realize that they were famous. We're all normal people. We have dinner, we do laundry just like everybody else," she says.
But there was one moment as a kid when she realized her cousin Whitney was a superstar. While doing cheer as a little girl for a Pop Warner team, her aunt decided to sponsor the entire team: she bought everyone's jerseys, uniforms and paid for everyone's tuition.
"I was like 8 at the time and I was just like, oh, that's kind of not normal," she says with a laugh.
Having been surrounded by such greatness has also left an influence on Warrick's life.
"Something that I've taken away from Aunt Dionne is to be a strong woman in the workplace and don't really give in to peer pressure and always try to be yourself," she says. "And that's a common theme within our family as well. Treat others like they're your family, don't look down on people."
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