Black American princess

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Black American princess (BAP) is a (sometimes) pejorative term for black women of upper and upper middle class background, who possess (or are perceived to possess) a spoiled or materialistic attitude.


While carrying valley girls overtones of the overly materialistic and style-conscious egotist,[1] the term has also been reclaimed as a matter of black pride to cover an indulged, but not necessarily spoilt or shallow, daughter of the emerging Buppies or black urban middle class.[2] At best, such figures carry with them through life a sense of civic pride, and of responsibility for giving back to their community.[3]


Stereotypically, young BAPs are often members of Jack and Jill, a social and civic organization for upper-middle-class African American youth. BAPs usually then go on to attend a "black Ivy" institution such as Spelman College or Howard University where they pledge either Alpha Kappa Alpha or Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

BAPs often later become members of The Girl Friends, Inc. or The Links, Incorporated,[3] and summer in black enclaves of Sag Harbor, New York or Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. Many BAPs have friends in a variety of organizations, include Sigma Pi Phi fraternity and the National Association of Guardsmen, Inc.

Cultural depictions[edit]

The BAP Handbook: The Official Guide to the Black American Princess (ISBN 978-0767905503) written by Kalyn Johnson, Tracey Lewis, Karla Lightfoot, and Ginger Wilson offers a behind-the-scenes look at BAP speech, style, and history. According to the guide, a black American princess is a pampered female of African American descent born to upper-middle- or upper-class families. Her life experiences give her a "sense of entitlement", and she is accustomed to the best and nothing less.

The 1997 comedy B*A*P*S depicts a pair of women who become "BAPs" living off a millionaire's money.

The character of Hillary Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is a stereotypical "BAP".[citation needed]

In other cultures[edit]


  1. ^ R. R. M. Coleman, African-American Viewers and the Black Situation Comedy 91998) p. 141
  2. ^ J. C. Smith, Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture (2010) p. 92
  3. ^ a b J. C. Smith, Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture (2010) p. 93

Further reading[edit]

  • L. B. Thompson, Beyond the Black Lady (2009)

External links[edit]