Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women (Duke University Press)
E. Patrick Johnson's Honeypot opens with the fictional trickster character Miss B. barging into the home of Dr. EPJ, informing him that he has been chosen to collect and share the stories of her people. With little explanation, she whisks the reluctant Dr. EPJ away to the women-only world of Hymen, where she serves as his tour guide as he bears witness to the real-life stories of queer Black women throughout the American South. The women he meets come from all walks of life and recount their experiences on topics ranging from coming out and falling in love to mother/daughter relationships, religion, and political activism.
As Dr. EPJ hears these stories, he must grapple with his privilege as a man and as an academic, and in the process he gains insights into patriarchy, class, sex, gender, and the challenges these women face. Combining oral history with magical realism and poetry, Honeypot is an engaging and moving book that reveals the complexity of identity while offering a creative method for scholarship to represent the lives of other people in a rich and dynamic way.
Praise for Honeypot:
"At times devastating and always gripping, Honeypot is an innovative and educational glimpse into the lives of black Southern LGBTQ+ women." — Eileen Gonzalez, Foreword Reviews
“In this critically singular work E. Patrick Johnson excavates heretofore unexplored stories of contemporary southern black women whose narratives of loving other women subvert their erasure in queer histories of LGBTQ communities. Gesturing toward black storytelling traditions within which both myth and fact shape the story, Johnson values and gives value to black women’s understandings of themselves and the transformative power of self-initiated freedoms. I've never read an oral history as powerful as Honeypot.” — Alexis De Veaux, author of Yabo
“E. Patrick Johnson delivers again. We make a corner turn from his book of delicious tea leaves and find ourselves submerged in the long-legged pages of sweet woman truth. The stories are of southern women loving themselves and other women too. Here are memories and moments shaping a new tradition of resilience and rosewater.” — Nikky Finney, author of Head Off & Split
“Like Virgil guiding Dante, cigarette-smoking Miss B., a trickster and shape-shifter, guides E. Patrick Johnson (Dr. EPJ) through the magical ‘beehive’ of ‘Hymen’ (indeed), where most of the action of this time-traveling oral epic unfolds. Miss B.—a cross between Pearl Bailey and Nipsey Russell—admonishes Dr. EPJ and the reader to ‘pull your shit tight or this is going to be a very long journey.’ There is so much telling in this book and so much pride.” — Cheryl Clarke, author of Living as a Lesbian
“E. Patrick Johnson's Honeypot simmers with delight and insight as black lesbian women share their stories of triumph and horror. Never before have I encountered space ruled by these voices, and never before have they been invited to bare it all unashamedly. It's about time!” — Daniel Black, author of Perfect Peace
E. Patrick Johnson is Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University. A scholar/artist, Johnson performs nationally and internationally and has published widely in the areas of race, gender, sexuality and performance. Johnson is a prolific performer and scholar, and an inspiring teacher, whose research and artistry has greatly impacted African American studies, Performance studies, and Gender and Sexuality studies. He is the author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke UP, 2003), Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History (University of North Carolina UP, 2008), Black. Queer. Southern. Women.—An Oral History, (University of North Carolina Press, 2018) and Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women (Duke UP, 2019). He has edited and co-edited several volumes including (with Mae G. Henderson) Black Queer Studies—A Critical Anthology (Duke UP, 2005) and No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies (Duke UP, 2016), and (with Ramon Rivera-Servera) solo/black/woman (Northwestern UP, 2014) and Blacktino Queer Performance (Duke UP, 2016).
Omi Osun Joni L. Jones’ work is committed to exploring strategies for promoting healthy communities through personal Joy. She is an artist/scholar/facilitator who employs Black Feminist aesthetics in her performance work, her pedagogy, and her consulting. She has performed at The New Black Fest (NYC), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), and Links Hall (Chicago), and has served as a workplace facilitator with Thousand Currents (Oakland) and NoVo Foundation (NYC). Her scholarship has appeared in The Drama Review, Obsidian, and Theatre Journal as well as in E. Patrick Johnson and Ramon Rivera Servera’s solo/black/woman and Blacktino Queer Performance. Her most recent book is Theatrical Jazz: Performance, Àṣẹ, and the Power for the Present Moment (Ohio State University Press). She is Professor Emerita from the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin.