From funny and fearless entertainment journalist Sesali Bowen, Bad Fat Black Girl combines rule-breaking feminist theory, witty and insightful personal memoir, and cutting cultural analysis for an unforgettable, genre-defining debut.
Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Sesali Bowen learned early on how to hustle, stay on her toes, and champion other Black women and femmes as she navigated Blackness, queerness, fatness, friendship, poverty, sex work, and self-love.
Her love of trap music led her to the top of hip-hop journalism, profiling game-changing artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, and Janelle Monae. But despite all the beauty, complexity, and general badassery she saw, Bowen found none of that nuance represented in mainstream feminism. Thus, she coined Trap Feminism, a contemporary framework that interrogates where feminism meets today’s hip-hop.
Bad Fat Black Girl offers a new, inclusive feminism for the modern world. Weaving together searing personal essay and cultural commentary, Bowen interrogates sexism, fatphobia, and capitalism all within the context of race and hip-hop. In the process, she continues a Black feminist legacy of unmatched sheer determination and creative resilience.
Bad bitches: this one’s for you.
If I can only recommend that you read one book this year, it is going to be this book.
Bad Fat Black Girl is part memoir, part feminist theory from entertainment journalist Sesali Brown. Please do not let the fact that I used the term “feminist theory” deter you from this compulsively readable and very engaging book. If you are a femme-identifying person today, this book is relevant to you.
I must start by applauding Sesali Brown for writing the most inclusive feminist text that I have read. Brown addresses everything from capitalism to anti-fatness to queerness to sex work within the framework of what she calls “trap feminism.” From trap music and its culture, Brown has created an intersectional feminist theory that is inclusive and represents the experience of (some) Black women in America.
Bad Fat Black Girl is a love letter to Black women, trap music, and the hood. Through personal stories, Brown offers provocative social commentary about being female in American, particularly Black and female. I learned a lot from Brown’s experience, her ideas, and her unapologetic use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE), with which I am admittedly not super familiar. Did I agree with absolutely everything said in this book? No, but that does not make it any less important. Bad Fat Black Girl challenged my idea of feminism while providing a narrative that was intersectional, thought-provoking, witty, and genuine.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Bad Fat Black Girl and cannot recommend it enough. This is the book that I will be buying everyone for Christmas. For the love of all that is good, skip Eloquent Rage and read Bad Fat Black Girl instead.
Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes from a Trap Feminist
Nonfiction – Social Science; Memoir
October 5, 2021