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Available June 27, 2021 11:00 PM UTC
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Making Sweet Tea is a documentary film that chronicles the journey of southern-born, black gay researcher and performer, E. Patrick Johnson, as he travels home to North Carolina to come to terms with his past, and to Georgia, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. to reconnect with six black gay men he interviewed for the book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History.


Johnson transformed that book into several staged plays over the course of a decade. The film combines documentary moments from the men’s lives a decade after the publication of the book and from Johnson’s life, depicting both how the men have changed and been changed by the book and play. The film also covers the complexities of Johnson’s relationships with the men, with his family, and with his hometown in western North Carolina. One experimental component of the film is Johnson’s re-staging the performance of the men’s narrative in their homes, in their churches, or on their jobs, sometimes with them directing him and/or with them in the scene. Blurring the line between art and life, Making Sweet Tea offers a rare glimpse into the lives of people rarely given a platform to speak, while also demonstrating how research, artistry, and life converge.

  • Year
    2019
  • Runtime
    90 minutes
  • Language
    English
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    John L. Jackson, Jr. & Nora Gross
  • Producer
    Stephen J. Lewis & Nora Gross
  • Executive Producer
    John L. Jackson, Jr. & E. Patrick Johnson
  • Cinematographer
    Steve Milligan, Nora Gross, & Stephen J. Lewis
  • Editor
    Stephen J. Lewis & Aden Hakimi
  • Composer
    Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. & Vince Anthony