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Staying Power
by Max Smith
2004-06-01

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STAYING POWER: The Unofficial Guide to Maintaining Positive African-American Male Relationships, is a work of Chicago Moon Publishing, Inc. Its 24 chapters over 275 pages cover aspects of same-gender love between and among Black men, from A to Z. STAYING POWER is designed to bring education, wisdom, awareness and information to the reader who wants to make good decisions and choices when it comes to finding and maintaining love. In the book, many different men share our stories of affirmation and encouragement. It is designed to present serious messages, common sense approaches to living, and yet it is sweetened with humor and spiced with irony to make it easy to read. When presented with a rough draft of the STAYING POWER manuscript in October 2003, I jumped at the opportunity to help craft and to edit this book. I remembered two dear departed friends: Joseph Beam, the editor of IN THE LIFE: A Black gay Anthology, published in 1986, and Essex Hemphill, the editor of Brother to Brother, published in 1991, and focused on an adherence to their vision that Black men loving Black men is a call to action and an acknowledgement of responsibility.

The invisibility of so many closeted Black SGL [same-gender loving] men means that few young Black men who come out have role models who can talk about experiences we have had. This book offers many real life lessons.

In many ways STAYING POWER is bold: putting into print for the first time some new, different, and, until now, unpublished ideas.

When was the last time a book paid serious attention to trade? You know, the kind of guy you can have for a 40-ounce and a blunt: and who is not a part of the gay marriage debate. We look at the reasons why SGL men who claim to be looking for Mr. Right so often get with Mr. Right Now. We analyze why this happens and examine the multiple serious implications of dealing with temporary fixes to being alone, lonely and horny.

Would a lesbian enjoy STAYING POWER? Yes! Many aspects of a relationship are universal. For example, the need for clear and consistent communication between partners of any race, gender or culture is given a full chapter. Another chapter examines both advantages and difficulties when there is more than 10 years difference in age between partners. On the other hand gay women may want to skip chapter 12.

A lot of guys have told a lot of locker room jokes about just how well hung Black men are. And sure enough there is a long, thick and juicy chapter that declares that size does matter! Whether you are packing a snake or a worm, you won't get through this one without cracking lots of smiles and grins. Matter of fact, the angle on Mr. Asp may make you laugh out loud. You guessed right, this is chapter 12.

Researchers have a vision of a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. STAYING POWER proposes a simpler way. We acknowledge that condoms can help. Yet, given the continuing increase in infections among SGL men of color, we propose a voluntary moratorium on anal sex. We detail why the basic 'use a condom' safer-sex message is not working, and we propose in detail some satisfying alternatives to penetrative anal sex.

We recommend THE GOOD BOOK by Harvard University theologian Rev. Peter J. Gomes, who is of the opinion that internalized homophobia makes sustaining SGL relationships more difficult. It is our hope that this book provokes vigorous discussion. We hope it helps younger people make good decisions on how to live life well. I highly recommend this book for all readers. It is a work that heterosexuals will enjoy also. Whoever wants to better understand the intricacy and complex nature of loving SGL relationships, from a Black male perspective, please read STAYING POWER.

Comments and concerns? Contact me at MaxsonnCS@aol.com


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