Author Gil Robertson explores black relationships in new book

Is black love in crisis mode?

Not necessarily, says Atlanta author Gil L. Robertson IV, but it has hit a rough patch.

“We’re not connecting in the same way we’ve seen in previous generations,” said the author of “Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African-American Community.”

Indeed, 45.2 percent of black households were married couples in 2012, compared to non-Hispanic whites, 80.1 percent, according to U.S. Census figures.

“People have a very transient way of looking at relationships today,” he said. If they are broken, many couples are not willing to invest the time and resources to make it work.

“I write about the things that are important to me and I definitely have a passion for a critical examination of the issues that define black culture in the 21st century,” he said.

He taps into what makes relationships work like the one between Singers Anthony Hamilton and his wife, Tarsha’, or Atlanta business owners Gregory and Juanita Baranco.

“Where Did Our Love Go” is divided into three sections - single, married and divorced.

Robertson will discuss and sign copies of his book at 6:30 p.m. May 14 at the Hammonds House Museum, 503 Peeples St S.W.

Q: What conclusions can you draw about what makes a relationship work - or not?

A: It’s amazing that we spend countless years in school preparing for our careers and great amounts of time in the gym trying to perfect our bodies, but most people don’t send any real time or investment in their relationships. Like everything else in our lives, people need to really be prepared to put the time in when it comes to doing what it takes to make their relationships work. It’s clear that they matter to us, so we need to make a real commitment and give them the priority they deserve.

Q: Just the title, “Where Did Our Love Go” suggests there are some issues with black relationships.

A: It’s an open secret that black love has hit a rough patch. When you look at the black community, in particular, you’re looking at a population segment where men and women are not always evenly yoked. Many women have college degrees and are working in a professional capacity but unemployment among black men continues to be a problem. Our experience as African Americans has certainly contributed in some ways to the challenges we face in our relationships . It has a measurable effect on how we come into relationship and how we respond while in those relationships. The big problems are economic equality, the incarceration rate of black men and black men who are opting not to marry black women.

But black love is still very much alive. The book is divided into three sections and marriage is the biggest section of the book.

Q: What’s your next project?

A: My next book will look at the loss of a loved one. As you know my mother, Fannye D. Robertson, passed recently. Over the past decade, I lost both of my parents. Even going through the last part of her journey, I knew I wanted to share my experience with other people who are in the midst of dealing with a loved one who is critically ill.