More about tea
Tea, as dished about in jarrett hill and Tre’vell Anderson’s new book, Historically Black Phrases, out now from Ten Speed Press from Penguin Random House:
A foundational piece of Black queer language that originated in Black drag culture. Describes potentially unknown or little-known information; it can be obvious or take some discerning.
Ryanne arrived to the after-party late. “What’s tea, sis?” she said to her bestie Mika, sensing she’s just missed something. “Apparently Simone’s boyfriend and side piece are both on their way,” Mika whispered.
ORIGIN OF TEA
- Tea may have come from the celebrated drag performer The Lady Chablis, who is quoted in the 1994 bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: “Yeah, my T. My thing, my business, what’s goin’ on in my life.” T, here, is short for truth.
- The slang tea may riff on The Lady Chablis’s T as well as on tea parties, at which well-to-do Southern women are popularly imagined to gossip.
- Tea spread thanks in part to RuPaul’s Drag Race starting in 2009. The reality show frequently uses (spilling the) tea for “gossip.”