From Publishers Weekly
This fascinating—if excessively detailed—oral history subverts countless preconceptions in its illustration of black gay subcultures thriving in just about every imaginable rural and religious milieu in the South. Johnson (Appropriating Blackness) has an obvious fondness for the 63 men he interviews. Unfortunately, these interviews suffer from his failure to ask follow-up questions to revelatory or troubling responses and his adherence to set questions, for example, his insistence on asking his churchgoing subjects why they are attracted to the choir, keeps him from exploring the more interesting intersections (and contradictions) of their faith and sexuality. Responses are arranged by topics (Coming Out; Love and Relationships), an organization that provides thematic coherence, but makes it difficult to follow each recurring narrator. Still, the courage and honesty of Johnson's interviewees humble, and readers will find much to treasure in the stories of Stephen, who adopts the mannerisms of straight classmates because he lacks masculine gay role models; proudly effeminate Lamar, transgendered Chastity and gay men in every state in the South falling in love, growing up and growing old, negotiating and redefining their identities. (Sept.) ""
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"It's pretty rare to pick up a book, turn randomly to any page, and find such a powerful personal story that you have to close the book for a moment to take it in. But the oral histories featured in Sweet Tea . . . cast just that kind of spell."--The Advocate
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"Easily shatters many narrow perceptions around the intersections of class, sex, love, age, religion, family and gender expression in Southern communities, as well as the simple and complex reasons that the men profiled have chosen to remain in the south.
"Challenges queer, black, men's, and southern historiographies. . . . Illuminates the fabric of black gay men's history . . . [and] debunks the myth that southern black gay men live only fearful, silenced, and secret lives."--Journal of Southern Histor
"In reading each colorful story, it seems as if the men are sitting right in front of you. . . . With nearly 46 percent of America's new HIV/AIDS cases occurring in the South, Johnson is serving the tea right on time."--POZ
"This fascinating . . . oral history subverts countless preconceptions in its illustration of black gay subcultures thriving in just about every imaginable rural and religious milieu in the South. . . . The courage and honesty of Johnson's interviewees hu
"Offers a treasure trove of primary sources for those interested in the intersection of race, region, and gay experience in the twentieth century. . . . Fascinating. . . . For deep insights into the development of black-gay relationships and community in
""With poignant stories from a demographically diverse spectrum of gay black men, this book is a fine addition to queer studies literature."--Choice
"Profiles more than seventy men, from teenagers to elders, hairdressers to executives, in every southern state. . . . A calm chronology of growing up black and gay. . . . Illuminate[s] readers about their little-known history."--Arkansas Historical Quarterly
"Contains a wealth of information about Southern black gay men and makes a valuable addition to gay cultural history."---The Gay & Lesbian Review
"Johnson's interviews often confound stereotypes. . . . Succeeds as a human document, giving voice to people who are seldom heard."--Wilmington Star-News
"Johnson, who has never been one to shy away from the intricacies of race theory or queer theory, has put together a complex oral history of gay black men in the South."--The Independent
"Interjecting apt questions only occasionally, the author allows his subjects to speak for themselves, which they do articulately, colloquially (a glossary is included), and graphically. . . . [A] very good book."--Library Journal