DJ Black Madonna has changed her named to the Blessed Madonna
DJ & producer Marea Stamper, known to many as the Black Madonna has officially changed her name to The Blessed Madonna. The decision has come in light of a petition that called for the artist to change her alias on the grounds that it is a form of 'cultural appropriation' and 'digital blackface'.
The petition was put online by Monty Luke, DJ and head of the Black Catalogue label. Monty stated that he had attempted to make contact with Stamper on more than one occasion to discuss ways in which she could change her alias because the name The Black Madonna "holds significance for catholics around the world, but especially so for black catholics in the US, Caribbean and Latin America. In addition, Detroit's Shrine of the Black Madonna has been an important cultural figure to many interested in the idea of Black feminism and self-determination for the past 50 years. Religious connotations aside though, it should be abundantly clear that in 2020, a white woman calling herself 'black' is highly problematic."
Marea Stamper had previously defended the name in an interview with The Quietus in 2017, stating "Who I am and where I come from and what that means to me and those like me – so other Catholics, like for example the entire nation of Poland! – there is a pretty unified stance on what the meaning of the Black Madonna is and the meaning of these icons is not controversial. It has a defined meaning, as most things do in the Catholic Church. We’re big on dogma…."
Marea Stamper made the following statement when announcing the decision to change the name "I have always been transparent about my faith because I felt a responsibility to be clear about who I was and who I was not. The name was a reflection of my family’s lifelong and profound Catholic devotion to a specific kind of European icon of the Virgin Mary which is dark in hue. People who shared that devotion loved the name, but in retrospect I should have listened harder to other perspectives."But now I hear loud and clear. My artist name has been a point of controversy, confusion, pain and frustration that distracts from things that are a thousand times more important than any single word in that name. We're living in extraordinary times and this is a very small part of a much bigger conversation, but we all have a responsibility to try and affect positive change in any way we can. I want you to be able to feel confident in the person I am and what I stand for."