E. Patrick Johnson’s ‘Sweet Tea’ on stage in Durham

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, by E. Patrick JohnsonAuthor, actor, and activist E. Patrick Johnson is bringing his one-man show Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South (based on his award-winning book of the same name) to Durham next week. Giving voice to a population too rarely acknowledged, Sweet Tea collects life stories from black gay men who were born, raised, and continue to live in the South.  Johnson challenges stereotypes of the South as “backward” or “repressive” and offers a window into the ways black gay men negotiate their identities, build community, maintain friendship networks, and find sexual and life partners–often in spaces and activities that appear to be antigay.

Sweet Tea will be running February 12-22, 2014, in the PSI Theater at the Durham Arts Council (120 Morris Street, Durham). To get a taste of the show, here’s a trailer for a previous production.

E. Patrick Johnson is the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. He is also an Artistic Fellow at the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College, Chicago. He was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2010.

Tickets for the Sweet Tea show are $20 general admission, $10 for students. To order tickets online or learn more about the play visit sweettea-theplay.com. You can learn even more about the show by visiting the Facebook event page for Sweet Tea.

Several of the performances will be followed by special conversations about the project. There will be a post-show conversation with Duke professor Mark Anthony Neal, editor of the blog NewBlackMan (in Exile) and producer of the Left of Black webcast, on Febuary 14. On February 16, UNC Press editor Mark Simpson-Vos will also be participating in a post-show panel discussion with Johnson.

If you’re interested in seeing what’s coming next from E. Patrick Johnson, you can see new work from his next project, Gathering Honey: Stories of Black Southern Women Who Love Women, on February 28 and March 1 as part of The Process Series from UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities.