… Tina Fey said she’s a bitch, wore the notion with pride and everyone chuckled. Then we move on to Tracy Morgan reminding Fey that black was “the new President.” Everyone laughed again.
I thought that was it, all that line would be worth.
Then I came across a Washington Post profile of 29-year-old D.C. journalist Helena Andrews. She’s single, black and “desperately in search of love.” And she decided to use “Bitch is The New Black” as the title of her forthcoming book (it releases in June 2010). It is to be a satirical look at her own struggles balancing professional success and relationship futility … and women like her in D.C.
She seems like a very self-aware Pedestal Patty. But if you read the small excerpt in the article, she also seems like a talented writer. The book has been billed as a black “Sex & The City” with a “Bridget Jones’ Diary” spin of sorts. The producer of Grey’s Anatomy has signed on to produce a film version of the book, which says something about Andrews’ ability and her story.
It could be a good/interesting read, far removed from an EJD or Zane-type take. But I’m stuck on the title.
If you read the profile, and you should, “Bitch is The New Black” is a fitting way to describe Andrews. She seems to embrace it well. But as a book title it reads like the name Shaquanda Apple Jenkins on a resume sitting in the Microsoft human resources department. It reminds me of a title Tiger Woods needs to purchase for 15 of his friends: “A Ho Needs To Stay In A Ho’s Place.” (Google it. It’s not a joke.)
That was the only real problem that I had with the profile. As I read it, I kept thinking to myself “I know girls just like this. This could be good.” In fact, I know girls who have locked D.C. in as a place to go and “find good black men.” It makes the idea of reading this book that much more comical.
But the profile and Andrews have caught a lot of heat in this blog’s comments. From some of the guys who read the article, you get the idea that Helena might as well go ahead and book reservations for the next five annual singles ski trips.
The lukewarm response comes from the attitude that Andrews gives off in the story and accompanying video (It’s worth watching. Helena has a constant, circular neck roll that reminds me of a fifth grader doing that familiar gym class exercise). Andrews’ personal definition of a winterboo juxtaposed against her inability to find a man she can call her own is astounding. Some said they’d never even friend a woman like her, let alone date.
Others were just pissed at the idea of another “black bitch” tale receiving so much run. But I think it has the chance to be more than that because it’s a good black writer getting the chance to tell a story about someone we all know — someone who has this bitchy, strong exterior, but she’s also full of uncertainty. Sure, people think it’s a story that has been told. But I’m not sure it’s been told that well. If done right, it has potential.
“What I am trying to say about single black women in any urban environment 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,” Andrews told the Post.
Moreover, it is rare these days that a promising black project that could be well-written gets the green light. That, I believe, should be commended. I can understand complaining about bad black cliches constantly played out in films written by non-blacks.
But when a good black writer gets an opportunity to explore some of her own truths that others experience, I think we should read, watch and listen.