Triangle: Author seeks book subjects

Carolina News Notes

DURHAM, N.C. — Author E. Patrick Johnson is headed to the Tar Heel State to interview black southern lesbians for his upcoming book, “Honeypot.” He will be conducting his research from Aug. 23-26.

Previously, he penned “Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South — An Oral History” about black gay men in the south. Oddly, he had wanted to include lesbians, but the response from gay men was so great that he felt he could not do justice to the original work. The University of North Carolina Press published it.

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“After ‘Sweet Tea’ was published, I thought that, surely, someone would collect the stories of black southern lesbians and it didn’t happen,” Johnson told qnotes.

He added, “In addition, as I traveled the country doing performances and readings from ‘Sweet Tea,’ women in the audience would always ask me when I was going to do a book about black lesbians. So, earlier this year I decided that I would collect these stories.”

This follow-up historical piece will serve to complete the story of black LGBT southerners. Johnson felt it was important to have an archive of black southern lesbian women’s stories to affirm the Black lesbian experience in the south, especially while they were alive and able to share them.

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“I am hoping that with both black gay men’s experiences and black lesbians’ experiences recorded, the general public will come to recognize that there is a striving LGBT community in the South,” Johnson shared.

Johnson, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s in speech communication from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, is a Carolos Montezuma professor in the Department of Performance Studies and African-American Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He is a performance artist, ethnographer and scholar. His first book was the award-winning “Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity,” which dealt with cultural, social and political battles over origin, ownership, circulation and performance. He also was a co-editor of “Black Queen Studies: A Critical Anthology,” a collection of essays written by an assortment of noteworthy scholars in African-American and queer studies. It was based on a University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill conference in 2000 that he co-organized. He toured his one-man show, “Strange Fruit,” around the country between 1999 and 2004. He is currently working on an anthology of black queer performance texts and researching queer sexuality and performance in the black church.

To learn more or to be considered for the project, email Johnson at e-johnson10@northwestern.edu or visit epatrickjohnson.com.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.