Wipf and Stock Publishers today confirmed that they have initiated the removal and ceased distribution of Jennifer M. Buck’s book, Bad and Boujee: towards a trap Feminist theologyafter days of criticism directed at the book.
In an April 14 email to Sojourners, Jim Tedrick, publishing director for Wipf and Stock, said they had “initiated the removal [of] the book from publication and distribution” and would release a statement later today.
Cascade, an imprint of Wipf and Stock, originally released Bad and Boujee February 22. The book, according to its back cover description, “engages with the overlap of black experience, hip-hop music, ethics, and feminism to focus on a subsection known as of “trap feminism” and building a feminist theology of the trap.”
Buck, who is white, has been on “Trap Feminist Theology” since 2017, according to her resume. She is currently a professor and program director at Azusa Pacific University in the Department of Practical Theology. Buck did not immediately respond to Sojourners’ request for comment.
On April 11, Jo Luehmann, a popular Christian writer and podcaster, criticized Bad and Boujee on her Instagram account, after asking Buck how qualified she was to write a book about the black women’s experience. Luehmann’s comments have been deleted, she told Sojourners, and Buck privately messaged her in an effort to discuss the matter. Luehmann shared screenshots of the interaction on his Instagram account.
Buck, according to the screenshots, said she did her research “by directly interviewing women trapping with a research team of mostly black women.” “Trap” is a reference to trap music, which was pioneered by black Southern hip hop artists in the 1990s. “Bad and Boujee” is a reference to the song of the same name by Migos and Lil Uzi Vert.
Some have said that Buck, as a white woman, lacks the ability to write theology that comes from the experience of black women, and others have criticized the content and purpose of the book – particularly Buck presents her book as the construction of an ethic already constructed by black women over decades. People also criticized racism and appropriation in publishing and academia.
“Trap feminism” is a term coined by entertainment journalist and author Sesali Bowen, at least as early as 2014. Bowen shared on Twitter his interactions with Buck in the screenshots. Buck, according to the screenshots, said she noted Bowen’s work after a research assistant discovered it.
In response to the announcement that Wipf and Stock would stop publishing and distributing, theologian Candice Marie Benbow told Sojourners: “While this does not erase the harm caused, I hope that Wipf and Stock will take this opportunity to familiarize with and amplify the many Black feminist and womanist scholars and practitioners who engage in work, grounded in their lived experience, that truly empowers and heals Black women.
Many people on social media have raised concerns about the status of Amazon’s reviews of the book, with one user point out that Amazon seemed to be suspending reviews and ratings. At the time of this article’s publication, the book had only one star and no reviews.
Authors and publishers do not control Amazon reviews, although users can report abusive reviews. Wipf and Stock told Sojourners that they made no attempt to extract or remove reviews.
At the time of publication, Wipf and Stock had not issued a statement on its social media channels.
This is an ongoing story and will be updated.