No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies
E. Patrick Johnson is Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University, the coeditor of Blacktino Queer Performance and Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology, and the author of Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity, all also published by Duke University Press.
E. Patrick Johnson details the rich blossoming of black queer studies since the 2005 release of the field-defining anthology Black Queer Studies. Discussing its genealogy, Johnson explains the title of No Tea, No Shade that stems from contemporary black vernacular and black queer popular culture and translates into: “I mean no offense by what I’m about to say, but I need to speak the truth.” He finds the ingenuity of imbricating two “old school” black queer vernacular terms such as “tea” (gossip) and “shade” (disrespect) as being apropos of how today’s black queer scholars build on the theorizations that preceded their own. In this way, new black queer studies scholars embody the signifyin(g) tradition of African American arts and criticism—that of repetition and revision with a critical difference. Johnson synthesizes each of the nineteen essays to reflect the critical differences contributors to this volume are making in the field. Incorporating the various changes in the academy and society in the past ten years, the “children” of black queer studies featured here—as Johnson, riffing on black queer vernacular, refers to this new generation of scholars—creatively mold black queer studies as a reading practice to offer critiques of the discourse surrounding black vulnerabilities, theorize the subjectivity for black lesbians, mobilize articulations of black trans* methodologies, and analyze the presence and potentials of Afro-diasporic epistemologies. Essays also take on new sites of inquiry that are subject to our times, such as social media and marriage equality.