Traveling to every southern state, author E. Patrick Johnson conducted interviews with more than seventy black gay men between the ages of 19 and 93.
He challenges stereotypes of the South as "backward" or "repressive," suggesting that these men draw upon the performance of "southernness"--politeness, coded speech, and religiosity, for example--to legitimate themselves as members of both southern and black cultures. At the same time, Johnson argues, they deploy those same codes to establish and build friendship networks and to find sexual partners and life partners.
Ultimately, Sweet Tea validates the lives of these black gay men and reinforces the role of storytelling in both African American and southern cultures.
Watch clips of the author performing his one-man show based on the interviews he collected for Sweet Tea. Please select from the clips below: