The Black Madonna changes her name

Amid ongoing pressure regarding the racial insensitivity of the name

21.07.20

Words by: Felicity Martin

The Black Madonna – real name Marea Stamper – has changed her stage name to The Blessed Madonna.

In a statement on Twitter, the American DJ/producer said the original 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”.

She then acknowledged that “I should have listened harder to other perspectives” on the name, continuing: “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 all have a responsibility to try and affect positive change in any way we can.”

A now-closed Change.org petition had been set up urging Stamper to drop the name, stating that “it should be abundantly clear that in 2020, a white woman calling herself ‘black’ is highly problematic,” and attracting over 1,000 signatures.

Petition creator Monty Luke of the Black Catalogue label told Pitchfork: “I commend Marea Stamper for finally making the decision to cease the use of the name, ‘The Black Madonna.’ The issue of cultural appropriation is pervasive, nuanced and complex. I hope that the dialogue this has sparked continues so that we may gain a deeper understanding and insight from all corners of the dance music community in an effort to move forward together.”

Dave Lee has also announced that he will drop his Joey Negro alias after three decades under that name.

In a Facebook post, Lee explained how the name had come about, also writing: “In truth I’ve not felt comfortable with the name Joey Negro for a while, especially as I’ve got older. I’ve stopped using it a few times but establishing a new name as an artist isn’t easy and I’ve ended up going back to it. I understand now though that it’s not appropriate for me to carry on using the name. I’ve recently received emails, tweets etc saying that it is unacceptable and people find it out of place in 2020 – and I agree.”

Patrick Holland, formerly known as Project Pablo, has posted a new explanation about his decision to retire the moniker, writing: “While I mentioned I’d done so to be more personable in my artistic practice, I  omitted the fact that members of the Latinx community had reached out to me publicly and privately, to express their discomfort towards my moniker and educate me on why using the name ‘Pablo’ is harmful and appropriative as a white, non-Latinx, non-spanish-speaking person.”