At long last, the time has come: the time for African American people to face the scourge that has affected it disproportionately for years, and to break through the cultural inhibitions that have prevented them from dealing with it head on. This landmark collection of personal essays, stories, brief memoirs, and polemics from a broad swath of black Americans-whether prominent figures from the worlds of politics, entertainment, or sports, or just ordinary folks with extraordinary stories-whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS, will galvanize public attention around this issue.
Author and journalist Gil Robertson first conceived this “gripping and heartfelt patchwork,” as he calls it, when his older brother was diagnosed with HIV. As he writes in his introduction, “As I’ve watched my family move through the various stages of his illness and hear similar stories from others, I began to realize that my family was not alone. There are countless other families waging the same fight with this disease, and I wanted to connect with them so we would feel even more so empowered to wage battle.”
Robertson has enlisted a remarkable group of contributors to give voice to their impassioned thoughts and feelings. A partial list includes: from politics, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., former US Surgeon General David Satcher, and Al Sharpton; from music, Patti LaBelle and Stephanie Mills; from film and TV, Jasmine Guy, Hill Harper, and Sheryl Lee Ralph; and from letters, Pearl Cleage, Randall Robinson, and Omar Tyree-among many, many others.
Gil L. Robertson IV is a journalist whose work has appeared in Essence, Billboard, Black Enterprise, The Source, Los Angeles Times,and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and who has appeared on The Tavis Smiley Show, CNN, and BET. His syndicated column, “The Robertson Treatment,” appears in more than thirty newspapers, reaching more than two million readers across the country.