According to news sources & noted blogger Danielle Belton, author Helena Andrews and her former employer Sheila Bridges, who admitted to firing Andrews in 2003, and who was called a “psycho” and a “sociopath” by Andrews in the book “Bitch is the New Black” have reached an undisclosed settlement. While Andrews never confirmed or denied the information she wrote was about the designer, Belton recently received the public apology Andrews wrote to Bridges as part of an out-of-court settlement between the designer, Andrews and the publisher Harper Collins. (You can see a copy of the apology letter at Belton’s blog “The Black Snob”).
The reason that I am reposting this news on the “sister blog” is two fold: First, I know Helena and like her. I think she is an engaging and colorful young sister. I read her book, which is a memoir and found it interesting in that it gave me insights as a 40 something year old into the minds of young sisters like Andrews who I care a great deal about. Secondly, however, I hate to see us (read black women) attack each other publicly and name calling it is unseemly and it needs to stop. I think both Ms. Andrews and Ms. Bridges needs to sit down over a cup of coffee (I will buy the java) and work out their differences woman to woman so that there can be healing between them. Clearly, there is bad blood here.
One of the reasons I founded iask, Inc. along with 12 other sister friends in 2004 is to help us find ways to better deal with our conflicts and issues with each other. In the six years we have been an organization I must say I have been at times disappointed in all of us (me included) in the way we have failed at working things out, handling our grievances and handling our conflicts one on one. To see two smart, savvy sisters have to exchange public barbs, and then have to issue an apology for calling names is just sad. But what is sadder still is that we do this to one another so often. I had this happen to me last year when I wrote an article for The Washington Post and mentioned the fight between Tavis Smiley, Tom Joyner and others. One of my “sister friends” blasted me in a public letter and I had no idea it was even issued. Instead of coming to me and asking me what I meant in my article or why I wrote it; she made assumptions (all wrong) and jumped all over me, name calling and the like. It was sad. I then responded in a public letter and it went down hill from there until some older wiser sisters pulled me aside and said, “Look she was wrong for how she handled herself-you need to be the adult and stop reacting to her.” They were right–I listened–I went to that sister in private and it ended. We are still friends.
My point is this sisters: We have to stop beating on one another verbally and emotionally. We take enough abuse day in and day out just being black women in America. Do we really need to openly assault and attack each other? And we love to call each other “Bitches”–are we really female dogs? Really? At the end of the day I think we can learn a powerful lesson from Ms. Andrews (as I hope she has learned). When someone has offended, hurt or maligned us. We need to take it to them first before we take it to the “streets”. In doing so, we can bring closure, healing and most importantly growth to our lives as sisters. Not a sermon sisters, just a thought.
P.S.–I feel so strongly about this that chapter 11 in my own book is all about the sisterhood and how we need to redefine how we speak to and treat one another most of all.