Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
January 30, 2015

Suge Knight Reportedly Involved In Fatal Hit-And-Run

Suge Knight
Chad Buchanan via Getty Images

Arizona Tried To Keep KRS-One Out Of Classrooms, So He Went There Himself

Krsone
PYMCA via Getty Images

Texas Executes Man With IQ Of 67

Robert Ladd Texas
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former KKK Leader David Duke Says He May Run Against Steve Scalise

Steve Scalise
Win McNamee via Getty Images

Larry Wilmore On Bill Cosby: 'He Was Never A Hero Of Mine'

Larry Wilmore
Slaven Vlasic via Getty Images

MLK Children Working To Settle Legal Dispute

Martin Luther King Children
ASSOCIATED PRESS

GOP Holds and Will Continue to Hold Lynch Hostage to Holder

Loretta Lynch
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images

The Tech Diversity Story That's Not Being Told

Server Room
Mikhail Tchkheidze via Getty Images

Former Detroit Leader Fears For His Son's Life At The Hands Of Police

Kevyn Orr
Bill Pugliano via Getty Images

St. Louis City Hall Meeting Interrupted By Brawl

St Louis City Hall Fight
KMOV

Loretta Lynch Moves Closer To Confirmation

Loretta Lynch
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images

What's in a Name: Senate Subcommittee Drops 'Civil Rights and Human Rights' From Name

John Cornyn
Tom Williams via Getty Images

Family Reunited With Son Forced Into Child Slavery After Haiti Earthquake Tore Them Apart

Crowdrise Haiti Family
CrowdRise

It's Time for Hollywood to Act Like Diversity Matters

Academy Awards
Toby Canham via Getty Images

The New Republic Confronts Its 'Perceived Legacy Of Racism'

Tnr Whitewash Cover
The New Republic

Little Rock School District To Be Controlled By State

Little Rock School District
ASSOCIATED PRESS

'Black Lives Matter' Protesters Interrupt Capitol Hill Lunch

Capitol Protest
Christine Conetta/Huffington Post

Seattle Cops Sorry About Arresting 70-Year-Old Black Vet For No Reason

Old Black Hand On Cane
Laur-Kalevi Tamm via Getty Images

SCOTUS Could Gut Key Civil Rights Law Right When Segregation Is Getting More Sophisticated

Supreme Court Justices
ASSOCIATED PRESS

South Sudan's Nuba Refugees Strive For Independence – In Pictures

South Sudan Nuba Refugees
Paula Bronstein via Getty Images

Michelle Obama Forgoes Headscarf In Saudi Arabia

Michelle Obama Saudi Arabia
SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

'Fresh Dressed' Documentary Schools Us On Hip-Hop And Style

Fresh Dressed Fp
Sundance

Cop Who Shot Sleeping 7-Year-Old Girl Will No Longer Face Charges

100518130198
ASSOCIATED PRESS

How to End Child Poverty for 60 Percent of Poor Children and 72 Percent of All Poor Black Children Today

Child Poverty
foto_abstract via Getty Images

Criminalizing Victims: How the Punishment Economy Failed Marissa Alexander

Prison
Darrin Klimek via Getty Images

Effort To Separate Robert E. Lee, Martin Luther King Days Fails In Arkansas

Arkansas State Capitol
Ramesh Lalwani via Getty Images

McDonald's CEO Don Thompson Steps Down

Mcdonalds Ceo
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The World Is Starting To Pay Attention To Black Travelers

Black Travel Movement
Evita Robinson

Court Clears Civil Rights Protesters Of Crimes 54 Years Later

Sitin Protests
Bruce Roberts via Getty Images

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    3. View all RSS feeds

This Is How Fox's Targeted Marketing Paid Off For 'Empire'

Empire
FOX

Eddie Murphy Is Returning To 'SNL' For The First Time Since 1984

Eddie Murphy Saturday Night Live
NBC via Getty Images

How To Be As Fierce As Olivia Pope In 5 Simple Steps

Olivia Pope Drinking Wine Scandal
ABC

Jessica Williams On Dating While Feminist

Jessica Williams
Tiffany Rose via Getty Images

Diversifying Hollywood About More Than the Academy Awards

Hollywood
Shutterstock

North West Is The Star Of Kanye's New Music Video

North West
EllenTube

'Supergirl' Casts 'True Blood' Star As Jimmy Olsen

Mehcad Brooks
Jeff Vespa via Getty Images

A Former Knick Just Said Some Stuff Every New Yorker Can Relate To

Jr Smith
ASSOCIATED PRESS

5 Kerry Washington Quotes That Prove She 'Handles It'

461364794
FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

David Oyelowo Defends Benedict Cumberbatch After 'Colored' Comment

David Oyelowo Benedict Cumberbatch
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

In Praise Of Women With Braids

Joy Bryant
Getty

Watch Ava DuVernay's Perfect Response To Her 'Selma' Oscar Snub

Ava Duvernay
Robin Marchant via Getty Images

Ludacris Wins Full Custody Of Daughter

Ludacris
mpi86/MediaPunch/IPx

How Wearing The Wrong Jewelry Can Get You Locked Up

Fashion Racism
Gawker

Gabrielle Union Says 'The World Isn't Going To End' If We See More Diversity In Women On TV

Gabrielle Union
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

The Most Showstopping Super Bowl Halftime Outfits Of All-Time

Super Bowl Halftime Show
Getty

Sly Stone Wins Lawsuit

Sly Stone Music
Larry Busacca via Getty Images

Jill Scott On Why She Only Dates For Six Months

Jill Scott
Derick Hingle/Invision/AP

Mickey Guyton And The Trailblazing Black Women Of Country Music

Linda Martell
Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

WATCH: 'This Is How We Do It'...At Buffalo Wild Wings?

Montell Jordan
YouTube

Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes For Race Comments

Bendict Cumberbatch
Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

This Could Be The Next Shonda Rhimes Show

Shonda Rhimes
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images

Diana Ross Returns To Las Vegas With Mini-Residency

Diana Ross
Michael Tran via Getty Images

Watch A Sneak Peek Of The New 'How To Get Away With Murder'

Viola Davis How To Get Away With Murder
Mitch Haaseth via Getty Images

11 Habits Of Insanely Fashionable People

Streetstyle
Getty Images

Big Sean Reveals New Album Title

Big Sean
NBC via Getty Images

Kid Cudi Dishes On Making Out With A Dude

Kid Cudi
Joe Scarnici via Getty Images

Chrissy Teigen & John Legend Get Super Steamy For GQ

Chrissy Teigen John Legend
Anders Overgaard for GQ

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."