A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 17, 2019
“That’s the tea” (that’s the truth)

"That’s the tea” is a saying that usually doesn’t have to do with tea. “Tea” means “T,” or “truth,” “gossip.” “My T” was said by the transgender club performer The Lady Chablis and printed in the non-fiction book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994) by John Berendt. “That’s the tea” has been printed on many images.

“Thats the T!” was posted on Twitter by Emo Luments on February 26, 2009. “That’s the ‘tea’..sweetness! lol!!!” was posted on Twitter by keemé.on March 2, 2009. “That’s the tea” was entered in the Urban Dictionary on May 21, 2015, defined as “That’s the gossip. The deal. The current news. The latest.”

“Spill the tea” is another “tea” saying,

Google Books
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil:
A Savannah Story

By John Berendt
New York, NY: Random House
Pg. ?:
“Plus, when black boys find out my T, honey, they be ready to kick my ass.”

“Your T?”

“Yeah, my T. My thing, my business, what’s goin’ on in my life.”

Emo Luments
Replying to @shelisrael
@shelisrael thats the T!
2:21 AM · Feb 26, 2009·Twitter Web Client

in the bed, still feeling kind of sick watching BET, looking for my ‘Box of Beyoncé & Music World Ent.’ that’s the “tea”..sweetness! lol!!!
7:11 AM · Mar 2, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Doug Dimmadome, Owner of the Dimsdale Dimmadome
@dphresh who cares lolz she gone be in new orleans tha day b4 n thats the tea
10:25 AM · Apr 17, 2009·Twitter Web Client

King Colbert
2:49 PM · Apr 20, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Replying to @JuChase
@JUchase then lay that ass down cuz we want pics ( tryna show yall why they call me bossy that’s the tea no shade no ego!its our best work!
6:14 AM · Jun 22, 2009·Twitter Web Client

That’s the tea , spill it ya know....
8:14 PM · Jul 31, 2011·Twitter for iPhone

“@iCheerrr: how did this whole ‘that’s the tea & ‘what’s the tea’ even get started? cause it was in tg and panthers music and a lvl 2 team
9:58 PM · Feb 28, 2012·Twitter for iPhone

bob loblaw
true tea / truth tea
That’s the tea bitch
Sip that tea
8:10 AM · Jun 8, 2012·Twitter for iPhone

Sam Wellman
Spill that tea. Truth tea. That’s the tea, bitch.
11:03 AM · Aug 17, 2012·Twitter Web Client

Replying to @StateOfJake
@SeeingRedKills The amount of times “that’s the tea!” has been on my timeline since Gaga said it...... -___-
7:21 PM · Sep 6, 2012·Twitter Web Client

Claire Sinclair
I would have died laughing at him saying “that’s the tea” on the Mic in a crowded church.
10:05 PM · Dec 23, 2012·Plume for Android

all I can say it “OK nigga....OK!” Cuz I got you real shit and that’s the tea!
1:53 PM · Dec 24, 2012·Twitter for Android

Urban Dictionary
That’s the tea
That’s the gossip. The deal. The current news. The latest.
She broke up with him because he cheated on her! That’s the tea!
Have you heard the tea? Joe was fired, Jim was suspended and Patty quit! That’s the tea!

by Hailipa May 21, 2015

What’s the Tea with Drag Slang?
Sofia Imitola September 22, 2018
“And that’s the tea!” is a phrase exclaimed and typed among many young people today.
If you ask anyone about where the origin of “Tea” comes from they’ll either say from the Kermit the Frog meme or they’ll be quite confused and say tea leaves. Both of those answers would be wrong. Tea came from black drag culture, the earliest mention of the phrase can be found in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In this non-fiction work, author John Benedict asks The Lady Chablis, drag queen, and a gay icon about her dating life. She comments that she makes sure to stay away from certain men because when they find out her “T” they tend to act out in extreme aggression. When asked what her “T” meant she responded with, “Yeah, my T. My thing, my business, what’s goin’ on in my life.” Thus, tea was born.

Google Books
Title That’s the Tea Sis: 6 X 9 Journal NoteBook, Unique Gift for Trendy Teens Or Tweens
Author Evelyn Gillman
Publisher Independently Published, 2019
ISBN 1798071096, 9781798071090
Length 150 pages

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, November 17, 2019 • Permalink