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A Love Supreme: Real-Life Stories of Black Love.

A Love Supreme: Real-Life Stories of Black Love

by TaRessa and Calvin Stovall Warner Books, February 2000, $23.95, ISBN 0-446-52171-X

Husband and wife authors TaRessa and Calvin Stovall had a clearly stated mission: to strike a blow against the overwhelmingly influential wave of negative imagery that washes over black people on a daily basis, telling us our love can't work. Like Pavlov's dog, we have become programmed to believe it, to internalize it, to suspect that when love does come sniffing around us, we better shoo it away in a hurry because we know black men and women can't co-exist in a loving relationship.

What Love Supreme does most effectively is demonstrate that love can sprout in the unlikeliest of circumstances--in a homeless shelter, in a drug treatment program, or a doctor's office--and that any thriving love relationship has to find some way to survive conflict if it's to have any staying power. As each of the book's 20 elegantly written stories of love demonstrate, the conflict will certainly come. The beauty of the book is the hope these stories offer and the proof that black love can survive most any hardship.

Though the love stories of celebrities may initially draw readers to the book, it would be a mistake to pass over the tales of how some not-so-famous couples managed to keep their relationships afloat under conditions that would chase away even of the most die-hard romantics. In Love Supreme, we discover a couple who found each other after almost being killed by ex-spouses, a couple who brought two broods of kids together and found a way for them to peacefully co-exist, a couple who weathered lengthy separations divided by major oceans and disparate cultures, a couple who live apart for the majority of the week, and a couple who live apart in the same house.

The affecting sagas range from the unorthodox open-mindedness of writers Pearl Cleage and Zaron W. Brunett, Jr., who overcame Cleage's suspicions of monogamy to craft a love relationship that has them spending plenty of quality time together running a community theater yet gives them both ample space apart, to the more rigid and traditional pairing of boxing champion Charles Brewer and wife Sophia, who still struggle with communicating and overcoming Sophia's bossiness.

For anyone trying to keep the love strong in their own households, or who may have begun to doubt whether brothers and sisters can overcome the centuries of baggage and pain we carry around in our damaged hearts and soul, Love Supreme offers a series of affirmations that black love is indeed alive and well. Contributing to that well of faith, and lending strength to the notion that our relationships are as sweet, strong, romantic, and valuable as any others, may be the Stovalls' greatest gift.

Nick Chiles and Denene Millner are the husband-and-wife authors of What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know: The Real Deal on Love and Relationships (William Morrow), and the recently released What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know About Sex.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Chiles, Nick
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2000
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