FOF #1055 – Sipping the Sweet Tea

Sep 15, 2009 · 24798 views

E. Patrick Johnson Interview

The American South, with its complex legacy of slavery, segregation and religious fervor has created a rather unique social structure.

African American gay men have learned to navigate this conservative environment to not only survive but to thrive in the small towns and big cities of the South.

While at a friend’s cookout, writer and performer E. Patrick Johnson encountered a group of older gay black Southern gentlemen sitting around telling stories about what it was like to be gay back in the day. Wanting to hear more about their experience, E. Patrick embarked on an adventure, traveling the Southland, interviewing over 70 gay black men of all ages.

Sweet TeaToday E. Patrick Johnson joins us to talk about his book “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South,” his collection of the funny, touching and fascinating stories he found.

E. Patrick is now touring the country performing “Pouring Tea” his one man show based on the book.

Listen as we talk about the complex relationship between gay men and their communities including the ties to their churches and their families.

Breaking the myth that it’s more difficult to live in the south.

Plus popular culture and the criticism over Tyler Perry’s films, sweet tea recipes and of course Kanye West’s very public outburst at the Video Music Awards. Is Kanye ready to name it and claim it?

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Featured Book:
E. Patrick Johnson- Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South: Amazon

Featured Music:
Hercules and Love Affiar: iTunes | MySpace | Site

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    Comments

  1. Kaitlyn531 says:

    Well, I’m a Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies major at the University of South Carolina (yay double majoring!).. And to answer your question, originally, “Women’s Studies” was a movement found to advance women and to raise the consciousness of women to these issues that they previously may not have known. Over the years, people have realized that men are negatively affected by sexism as well (you guys have touched on this on your shows before and as gay men, should be incredibly intimate with). I’m taking a Psychology/Women’s and Gender Studies class right now about Men and Masculinity, actually. :) For instance though, men are supposed to be heterosexual and masculine and basically the complete embodiment of anti-femininity, which is why so many gay men and boys are criticized as being “sissies/pussies/bitches” (which if you notice, are all female oriented words! Sad that women and women related nicknames are equated with weakness!) Because of this, the way men are socialized, they are taught to be afraid of being labeled as feminine and being labeled as gay.. And because of this, “Women’s Studies” has taken more of a gendered holistic perspective, hoping for a better grasp of what our gender, socialization of that gender, and our sexuality does for us as people and as a culture. Not to mention, a good few of the early feminist writers were lesbians ;P So we’re tied really closely with them too, so why not add on the rest of the GLBTQ community?! :D It’s perfectly fine with me :)

    • Kaitlyn531 says:

      I do agree though that a lot of people in the WGST/WOST community are a bit hesitant to add the male perspective and the GLBTQ perspective to the traditional WOST curriculum, especially those that are older and are a bit stuck in their ways. However, USC is pretty progressive with this. Last year, they finally changed the name from Women’s Studies to Women and Gender Studies.. And some of the higher-ups in the WGST department are also gay individuals themselves (my adviser who is also teaching my gay and lesbian literature class is an out and proud gay man), which I’m sure helps.

    • Kaitlyn – I really like your perspective and understanding of this topic. Kudos on the awesome comments!

  2. Saulo says:

    Well… E. Patrick is fantastically funny and smart. The stories he collected show a very interesting and important part of gay America that needs to be told. Kudos for his superb work and for FOF for once more for bringing us high quality interviews like that.
    And careful of the “mean sissies” out there!!! hehehehe
    kisses

  3. Cliff Dix says:

    Thanks Fausto and Marc for introducing us to another fascinating member of our community. I am sad I missed E. Patrick when he was in town but look forward to reading the book. I appreciate the fact he addressed the not always true stigma of the south and small towns as an unsafe place for gays as well as blacks. Growing up gay in a small southern town as well as now living in the big gay city of Atlanta, I know the difference. When you live in a small town, people know you and they look out for you. In the big city, gays split off into groups like twinks, bears, blacks, etc. In small towns the gay community is a close knit group of all types.

  4. ibox2000 says:

    Having criticised yesterday’s show, I am compelled to say today’s was good. Your guest has interesting stories. I even added his book to my Amazon wish-list and I haven’t read a book in years.

  5. Stevey says:

    My Darlings,
    Please tell me what song you played at the end of the show (sounded kinda like Sylvester).

    OXOX,
    Stevey in CA (Your #1 Fan)

  6. Cliff Dix says:

    Pays to listen to the whole show before commenting but I am glad to hear your guest will be back in Atlanta this weekend. In fact, I just bought my tickets. Can’t wait.

    PS. I have had the Sweet Tea Infused Vodka and I must say it’s not my cup of tea.

  7. TrickyToro says:

    I LOVED this show soooo much. E Patrick is fabulous. I was so excited and entertained listening to him read and perform. What a treat, what an incredible performer and teacher. He’s done a beautiful job telling these wonderful offbeat and fascinating stories. I laud him for collecting them. Thank you!

  8. DC_GAY_MAN says:

    Must make an audiobook!

  9. Cray says:

    This was one of my favorite shows ever! Thanks guys!

  10. patrick says:

    fab, fab, fab! this show more than made up for yesterday’s migraine-o-mania! (not that i’m keeping score, of course! ;) ) can’t wait to get my hands on e. patrick’s book. wonder if being black and gay in the south is anything like being gay and chinese in the philippines… and agreed, an audiobook would be great!

  11. Matty says:

    Loved your guest today boys!!!! Omg he was so fab! My Partner is Black and southern. This show so reminded me of him and his stories. I cant wait to get this book for him b/c his birthday is coming up and this will be perfect!!! :D So thank you!!! You have never been to church until you go to a black church. Omg I loved it, the people, the atmosphere, the food!!! it was so amazing and fun. Everyone excepted us and we had a blast. The whole “Friiiiend” thing is so true, I myself am southern so when I took Marquise to my family reunion not to long ago I introduced him to everyone as my friiiend. And everyone took it as they wanted to, either as he was my friend, or as he was my partner. Being gay in a small town is so much more fun the being gay in the city, I have experienced both and prefer the small town. Everyone there excepts you as you are, and you aren’t put into little boxes like, bear, black, otter, twink, asian, beef cake, jock, butch, fem.. etc. like we are in the city. Once again great show boys!! I so look forward to E. Patrick being on again some time. :D

    Matty

  12. brian says:

    Hey guys, I’m catching up from having missed so many shows during the summer. This was a spectacular show. E. Patrick offered up such a new and exciting perspective on our culture. Really well done. Oh, and I second the idea of and audiobook. I am almost tempted to take up reading based on his book alone!!!

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