Bolden/Agate Publishing, 2013
Editor: Gil Robertson, IV
Book Review by: Melody Charles
To let the media, certain authors and other pseudo-experts tell it, a loving and committed union is rarer than a snowstorm in Texas when the man and woman in question both happen to be Black. The last few years have seen intense scrutiny, news stories and a whole new crop of best-selling books that aim to tell readers (mainly Black women) what theyre doing wrong in their search for a Mr. Right. For those tired of that finger-pointing and female-blaming, editor and lecturer Gil Roberson has taken a new approach to the issue with his soul-searching and sensitive collection of essays, Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African-American Community.
Divided into sections that expound on the three main relationship statuses (Single, Married, Divorced), Where… offers honest and hopeful vignettes about the different influences and attitudes that color (pun intended) our communities. Regular citizens and full-fledged celebrities go in about “come-to-Jesus” moments (Melody Guy’s “Key Issues”), bittersweet breakups (“Avery” by Clay Kane), the clarity found after outgrowing a marriage (Raqiyah Mays’ “Love Is Not Enough”) and even a glimpse into a high-profile household via essays by Anthony Hamilton and his wife Tarsha, “The Big Picture” and “The Power of Adapting”: “My marriage could’ve easily taken a fall because at first, I struggled with keeping my career as an artist…..I had to consider what made sense to for us. He [Anthony] had already reached celebrity status and was the principal breadwinner. Why should he sacrifice everything he’d worked for just so I could have a have a job?”
Yes, there are unique challenges that face, and fracture, African-Americans: institutionalized racism, decades of economic and social disadvantages and a warped system in place that cannibalizes its males and overburdens its females to the breaking point. But what this anthology does is offer multiple platforms from which to draw strength and support to fight the good fight. If Black love is important to you and crucial to you, your friends and family, Where Did Our Love Go... embraces both sides while sacrificing none.