BITCH IS THE NEW BLACK
BY HELENA ANDREWS
Meet Helena Andrews, sassy, single, smart, and, yes, a bitch—but Tina Fey said it best, bitch is the new black!
When Helena Andrews heard this declaration on Saturday Night Live, her first reaction was How daaare you? But after a commercial break and some thought, she decided to poke at the stereotype that says "successful" and "bitch" are synonyms. Unafraid and frank, she comes to realize that being a bitch is sometimes the best way to be—except, of course, when it's not.
Bitch Is the New Black follows Andrews—sexy, single, and a self-described smart-ass—on her trip from kidnapped daughter of a lesbian to Washington, D.C., political reporter who can't remember a single senator's name. Told in Andrews's singular
In these candid yet heartfelt essays, she chronicles that ride from beginning to end: a childhood spent on an all-white island, escaping via episodes of The Cosby Show; being set up with Obama's "body guy" Reggie Love by Maureen Dowd; and the shocking suicide of a best friend. Through it all, Andrews and her gang of girlfriends urge each other to "keep it moving." But no one can stay strong all the time—not even the women we believe do so without trying.
As Andrews says, "Despite the fact that the most recognizable woman in the United States is black, popular culture still hasn't moved past the only adjective apparently meant to describe us— "strong." She is also flawed, tired, naive, greedy, gutsy, frightened, and kind: secret sides that come out in honest detail here.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As a purveyor of all things pop culture, Washington journalist Helena Andrews has written about President Barack Obama's blackness, Secretary Hillary Clinton's pantsuits, Damien Marley's marijuana, and Dave Chapelle’s conspiracy theories. A former staff writer at Politico, Helena now writes a weekly column called “Single-Minded” on being “free, single and disengaged” for TheRoot.com, a division of The Washington Post. She also covers the nexus of pop culture and politics as a regular online and on-air contributor to PoliticsDaily.com, a division of AOL.
Her first book, a hotly anticipated collection of essays, is entitled Bitch Is the New Black (HarperCollins). A memoir told in parts, Bitch Is the New Black chronicles Helena’s journey from the kidnapped daughter of the town lesbian to the Washington reporter who can’t remember a single senator’s name, to the girl who runs her love life on G-chat. “I’m pretty much pants-ing myself here,” says Helena about Bitch Is the New Black, “daring folks to look at the hole-ly Hanes of my life as a metaphor for the rest of the women who look like me or think like me.”
The film rights to Bitch Is the New Black have already been optioned by Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, who will produce the project for Fox Searchlight Pictures. Helena will write the screenplay. Rhimes called the book “outrageously funny and heartbreakingly honest.”
On December 10th 2009, The Washington Post published a front-page profile of Helena that was hugely popular and prompted responses from The Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Racialicious. In the article, “Single Minded Success,” Helena explained her work, life and love: “What I am trying to say about single black women is, you don't know them as well as you think you do. They may not know themselves as well as they think they do.”
Helena has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, CBS's The Early Show, CNN, XM Radio, NPR, and NY1. She’s shared her unique perspective on The Real Housewives of Atlanta (“cray cray”), Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (magical indoctrination), and Sarah Palin’s “play” son-in-law (have a baby by me and be a millionaire) with viewers and listeners across the country.
After graduating from Columbia University in 2002, Helena scored a competitive $5.15/hour internship at O, the Oprah magazine. (Like all good interns, she survived on ramen noodles, free break-room food, and the kindness of strangers.) She went on to earn a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, providing the solid reporting foundation required to answer phones as a news assistant in the Washington bureau of the New York Times. From there she went on to cover Capitol Hill for Politico, which resulted in an allergic reaction to politics.
BITCH IS THE NEW BLACK is Washington journalist Helena Andrews’ honest and frank memoir, from childhood to now, in which she pulls no punches and tells it like it is. Whether it is about being kidnapped as a child, spousal abuse, or the death of a friend, Andrews doesn’t shy away from the truth. That said, the book also includes humor and lots of laughs especially as she expounds on how she and her friends can’t help but complain about not being able to find a well educated, respectable black man!
Each chapter in the book tells a story from Andrew’s life and although not always in sequential order, they are easy to follow because of her finely developed writing skills. The title of Andrews’ memoir comes from a “Weekend Update” skit on Saturday Night Live. In it, Tina Fey supports the use of the word “bitch” to describe smart, dominant, and successful women like Hillary Clinton.
Andrews received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s from Northwestern University. She has worked for O: The Oprah Magazine, Politico, and the N. Y. Times. BITCH IS THE NEW BLACK is her first book and is the much talked about and sometimes controversial memoir that has already had the rights purchased by Shonda Rhimes, who created “Grey’s Anatomy”, and Ms. Andrews is set to write the screenplay.
Although not every reader, like myself, may be able to identify with some of the events of Andrews’ life, BITCH IS THE NEW BLACK offers a rational, realistic and, sometimes, very funny glimpse into the life of a successful working woman merely trying to find love in our world today.
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