How Author Devyn Bakewell is Challenging Millennials to Love Themselves First and Let Others In in her New Book “Greater Life”


By Jessica L. Dupree

It’s Women’s History Month, and Howard Alumni, relationship expert, and author Devyn Bakewell is on a mission to strengthen Black love through storytelling. From her first novel, Greater Love: Let Love In, and Watch How it Changes You… to her second novel release, Greater Life: Because A Greater Life Leads To A… Bakewell has been spreading a message of love in a purposeful and passionate way.

The sequel to Greater Love, Bakewell’s latest novel Greater Life shows that falling in love is the easiest part of the journey, and staying in love is where it gets hard. The novel’s main characters, Ryan McKnight and Devyn Baker, both find themselves in stressful situations that they must navigate to succeed on their own, as the challenges of being in a long-distance relationship make matters worse.

As questions like “Can Ryan and Devyn survive several months apart with their relationship being put to the test?” and “How far will they go not to lose the love of a lifetime?” Float in the air, the emotionally-charged second installment is bringing fans thought-provoking, heartfelt drama, action, and entertainment.

With every fiber of her honest, emotional being, Bakewell shares her message – that love is for everybody, and everybody deserves the love they want and believe is for them. “I want us to voice more of what we want in this world, for ourselves, and whatever we want – we should be able to say that,” Bakewell tells Heart & Soul.

I want Black women to ask for what we want and hold ourselves to accomplishing our goals amidst finding love. Hold yourself to the dreams you were going to be before you met the person you are with today. If you can’t do that with the people you’re around, you’re not around the right people. I want Black people to tell Black stories and celebrate Black love. There’s just not enough Black stories,” she adds.

Bakewell recently sat down with Heart & Soul to talk about her new book Greater Life and her mission to heal Black love through storytelling.


Get The Book

How has your experience as an HBCU grad and Alum Alum influenced your views on love and relationships?

 The greatest part about going to Howard is that I always wanted to write about Black people and for Black people. I got to see so much of the diversity of Black people and how creative, smart, and strong we are as a people. Through the experience of seeing how we are as a community and how we bond, I was able to show that in my book because it is set in an HBCU, and you were able to see the diversity of Blacks.

In my book, one of the things people talk to me about is the conversations and how the people feel real. The characters are so many different people in one.

In Michelle Obama’s latest book “The Light We Carry,” relationships are not 50-50. What do you think about that?

 I agree, I think that’s the importance of loving people where they are and for who they are. The hardest part of being in a relationship is dealing with the complexities of the person. Humans are human, and we’re not going to be happy every day and ready to give 50 percent every day and every month. I think that really loving someone is meeting someone where they are and wanting them to do as well as you would want to do.

It’s loving someone like you love yourself and wanting them to feel taken care of, being as safe as you are, feeling good, and being good. Literally loving someone the same exact way that you love yourself. You should have the utmost love for yourself and the people that are meant to be in your life, the people who show you respect and bring you happiness – love them the same way.

No matter who you are or your race or religion, it is a human phenomenon to love and be loved. In fact, the need for love is considered to be one of our most basic needs.

What change do you want to see through your book and the message of letting others in?

I want people to see healthy Black love in all its forms. I still have a lot of showing of Black love to do through my fiction writing. I just want people to see different perspectives of Black people, Black life, and the diversity of our culture through my writing.

For more information on Devyn Bakewell, follow her on IG @devynbakewellauthor