Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
September 19, 2014

Former NFL Player Retires So He Could Donate Kidney To Brother

Kemoeatu
Jamie Squire via Getty Images

A Chance to Go From Hard Lives to Healing

Black Male Doctor Hands
Mark Edward Atkinson via Getty Images

WATCH: Bears' Marshall Opens Up About NFL's Domestic Violence Problems And His Own

Brandon Marshall
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Warrior in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS: Photographer Duane Cramer

Duanecramer
Nicholas Snow

Drinking Baileys In This Country Could Mean You're Gay -- And Going To Jail

Baileys Irish Cream
Jason Kempin via Getty Images

Bodies Found After Ebola Health Care Workers Go Missing

Ebola
Getty

Almost All Obamacare Enrollees Are Paying For Coverage

President Obama Smiling
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Adrian Peterson's Mom Speaks Out

Adrian Peterson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Chicago Won't Have A Barack Obama High After All

Obama Chicago
JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

What It Means To Be A 'Real Mother' In 21 Gorgeous Photos

Real Mother
Alyson Aliano

Bloomberg: Detroit Is Just Like 1970s New York, And That's A Good Thing

Detroit Skyline
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ohio Business Groups Push Schools To Drug-Test Students

Marijuana
David Ramos via Getty Images

Even Supporters Of Spanking Think What Adrian Peterson Did Should Be Illegal

Adrian Peterson
Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery via Getty Images

White Officer Kills Innocent Black Girl; Jury Told To Disregard Ferguson

Aiyana Stanleyjones
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Punishment Or Child Abuse?

Child Abuse
New York Times

DEA Chief Michele Leonhart Struggles To Explain Position On Drug Sentencing Reform

Michele Leonhart
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Police: NFL Player Head-Butted Wife For Refusing Sex

Jonathan Dwyer Cardinals
Christian Petersen via Getty Images

The NFL Domestic Violence Firestorm: "There Are No Sidelines, Only Sides"

Drphil Blog
Dr. Phil

How A Police Officer Shot A Sleeping 7-Year-Old To Death

100518130198
ASSOCIATED PRESS

In New York, Justice 'Only Available To Those Who Can Afford It,' Says Report

Jail
Caspar Benson via Getty Images

No, Charles Barkley, Spanking Kids Isn't A Black Thing

Charles Barkley
Noah Graham via Getty Images

4 Black People Receive the MacArthur ‘Genius' Grant

Steve Coleman Jazz
Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images via Getty Images

Officer In Michael Brown Case Testifies In Front Of Grand Jury

Darren Wilson

Americans' Trust In Media Is At An All-Time Low Again

Obama Tv
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

#WhyICare: Sandy Survivors Demand Action On Climate Change

Hurricane Sandy
Vimeo

What #MyBlackFamily Looks Like

Myblackfamily
Twitter

Obama Insists U.S. Forces 'Do Not And Will Not' Have Combat Mission In Iraq

Barack Obama
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

Happy Citizenship Day! Are You 'American' Enough To Pass The Test?

Citizenship
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Panthers Star Removed From Active Roster Amid Domestic Violence Case

Greg Hardy
George Gojkovich via Getty Images

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    1. HuffPost
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. View all RSS feeds

Jon Stewart Sings Goodbye To New SNL 'Weekend Update' Anchor Michael Che On The Daily Show

Jon Stewart Michael Che
Comedy Central

WATCH
Key And Peele Are Back In Action, And Funnier Than Ever

Key And Peele Alien Impostors
YouTube/Comedy Central

Andre Leon Talley: 'There Are Ceilings That I Have Not Broken That I Should Have Broken'

Andre
Getty Images

'A Different World' Cast Reunite 20 Years Later

Own Oprah Where Are They Now A Different World
George Burns/Harpo Studios

Attorney: Patti LaBelle Had Bodyguard Beat Cadet

Patti Labelle
RW/MediaPunch/IPx

Mathew, You ARE The Father!

Mathew Knowles
Carlo Allegri via Getty Images

Directors Guild Finds TV Diversity Hiring Stalled

Shonda Rhimes
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

'Django Unchained' Actress 'Is Lying,' Says Cop

Daniele Watts
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Apparently 'Blunt Roller' Is A Job And It Pays $50,000 A Year

Waka Flocka Flame
Chelsea Lauren via Getty Images

Shinique Smith Is The Renaissance Woman Of Contemporary Art

Bright Matter

Mapei's New Album Is The Soundtrack To Your Next House Party

Mapei
Courtesy of the artist

'Sesame Street' Characters Confirm: Michelle Obama 'Gives The Best Hugs'

Michelle Obama Sesame Street
Alex Wong via Getty Images

30 Years Later, 'Cosby' Kid Is Busier Than Ever

Malcolmjamal Warner
Getty

Why The Ashish Runway Show Is Much More Than A Kimye Sweatshirt

Ashish Spring 2015
John Phillips via Getty Images

Lost Interview Of Michael Jackson Talking About His 'Destiny' Resurfaces

Michael Jackson Destiny Tour
Ebet Roberts via Getty Images

NYC Jazz Musicians Fear Poverty In Retirement

Jimmy Owens
David Redfern via Getty Images

The Most Beautiful Women We Spotted On The Streets Of London

London Fashion Week Street Style
Getty Images

Helena Andrews: A Life Now In Paperback

Comments (9)


Helena Andrews could easily divide her life thus far into two separate eras: LBWPA (Life Before 'The Washington Post' Article), and LAWPA (Life After The Washington Post Article).

The 30-year-old Washington, D.C.-based author was just about finished with her memoir 'Bitch Is The New Black' when the 'Post' published 'Successful, Black, and Lonely' in December 2009.
Although loosely tied to Andrews' book, the article focused mainly on trouble she faced as a young, black professional woman on the Washington dating scene. The article starts: "Helena Andrews is 29, single, living in D.C., and might be the star of a black 'Sex and the City' -- stylish, beautiful and a writer desperately in search of love in the city."

The story went viral, causing a stir in the black blogosphere and netting 464 responses until the 'Post' closed off the comment section. The popular black relationship blog Very Smart Brothas wrote this about the article: "I don't know exactly why Ms. Andrews herself is single...but, I've known enough of her doppelgangers to have a pretty good idea of a few things she might be able to do (or stop doing) to improve her fortune."

Today, Andrews recalls the initial attention as somewhat troubling.

"There was a lot of explaining I had to do," she said from her home in D.C. where she's working on the film adaptation of 'Bitch Is The New Black,' which is now in paperback. Shonda Rhimes, creator of 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Private Practice,' and the new upcoming series, 'Scandal,' is producing the film for Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The book features 16 short stories that include her take on her life as the daughter of a lesbian mother, the emotional weight of losing a best friend who committed suicide and Maureen Dowd setting her up on a date with President Obama's "body man" Reggie Love.

Rhimes' involvement in Andrews' story is a testament to the book's refreshing take on the young-successful-black-woman-who-just-so-happens-to-still-be-single narrative. 'BITNB' at first glance was something out of the Terry McMillan pantheon, a kind of 'Waiting To Exhale' redux. But when asked about her influences, Andrews doesn't mention McMillan's name. Rather, Andrews' influences, she says, are memoirists like Sloan Crosley and David Sedaris, two authors who have written about their lives in full and nuanced ways.


"There was a lot of misconception about what the book was about," Andrews explains. "People thought it was going to be all about dating and relationships, which it is, partially, but it's a memoir about my entire life."

The 'Post' article didn't seem to help matters either, Andrews says. "[The article] played an angle which was exactly why I wanted to write a book in the first place, because I was sick of that angle being played when it comes to black women."

Andrews says she's had to explain over and over that 'BITNB' is deeper than a 'Sex and the City'-style romantic comedy, and that it should resonate for women of all races. "Some people were expecting the typical book you find in the African-American literature section at Barnes and Noble," she adds. "When they didn't get [that type of book], they were disappointed."

While Andrews knows her core audience is black women - "I'm a black woman, I tell the story of this black woman" - she and her publisher Harper Collins made concerted efforts to "cast the net as widely as we could," which meant doing things like publishing the book's first excerpt about Helena being raised by her lesbian mother in 'Out' magazine.

The effort to make these stories more appealing to a diverse audience now continues with its paperback release. "A white author doesn't sit and say, 'Will black people read this book?'" Andrews says. "They don't have to think about that because their books are all over the place."

Andrews notes that her efforts have paid off and the readership response to her book has been culturally diverse. She claims: "I've met white women who were shocked they didn't need a secret password to get my references. And then there are some women who don't even think about that, and who email me or tweet me to tell me they think it's great."

While the paperback version hits shelves just in time for beach readers, Andrews is focused on a couple of upcoming projects tied to the book. In addition to the BITNB screenplay, she plans to further promote the book this fall during a college tour geared toward young women.

The other project is dating. Andrews admits the exposure from the book has played a significant role in meeting people. "When I meet new people, they feel like they know my whole life, which technically, they do," she says. "That could be good and that can be bad, but it's been good."

Comments: (9)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 1

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."