This book is the stage version of E. Patrick Johnson’s Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History, a groundbreaking text for the fields of Black studies, queer studies, and Southern oral history and ethnography. Between 2004 and 2006, Johnson edited a series of narratives from Black gay men who were born and raised in the South and have continued to live there. While the scholarly text of Sweet Tea has enjoyed wide circulation, Johnson knew that the stories of these individuals weren’t able to come fully alive on the page. He transformed the text into a theatrical performance, which originally toured the country as Pourin’ Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Tales. The oral history has also been adapted into a documentary, Making Sweet Tea.
Based on several mounted tours and individual stagings, Sweet Tea: A Play provides an opportunity for readers, students, theater practitioners, and audiences from different backgrounds to engage with the lives of these incredible characters.
“Sweet Tea takes on some complicated subject matters—a father’s recounting of coming out to his four-year-old son is particularly moving—but overall its tone feels more personal than provocative. When he is telling his story through his own eyes rather than the eyes of those he’s interviewed, it’s a pleasure to get to know Johnson himself.”
—Missy Frederick, Washingtonian