Black Southern Women Who Love Women

Book Pages: 256 Illustrations: 2 illustrations Published: November 2019

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, LGBTQ Studies

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.


“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

"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


Availability: In stock
Price: $25.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

E. Patrick Johnson is Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University and the author and editor of several books, most recently No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Theory, also published by Duke University Press.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is Visiting Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota and author of M Archive and Spill, both also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Alexis Pauline Gumbs  ix
Preface. You Catch More Bees with Honey Than with Vinegar  xi
Acknowledgments  xvii
Introduction. The Adventures of Miss B. and Me  1
1. The Hive  5
2. Blessed Bee  55
3. Honeybee Blues  69
4. Honey Love  112
5. Beebop and Beeswax  132
6. All Hail the Queen (Bee)  153
Epilogue. Flight  220
Appendix. List of Honeybees  223
Notes  227
Index  229
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Finalist, 2020 Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) in the LGBTQ Nonfiction category

Additional InformationBack to Top