Forthcoming Event: Making Sweet Tea

Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker E. Patrick Johnson


The Wexner Center for the Arts
16 February 2023
7:00 PM
Free and Open to the Public

Please mark your calendars to join other members of the Theatre, Film, and Media Arts community at the Wexner Center for the Arts for a screening of E. Patrick Johnson’s 2020 documentary film, Making Sweet Tea. The screening will be followed by a moderated conversation and Q&A session lasting approximately 30 minutes.

The Film 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 his 2008 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. Watch the official trailer on YouTube.

E. Patrick is currently the Dean of the School of Communication and the Annenberg University Professor at Northwestern University. His visit to The Ohio State University is made possible by collaboration between the Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts and the Department of Comparative Studies with additional co-sponsorship from the Wexner Center for the Arts; The Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme; the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; the Department of African American and African Studies; and the Department of English.