DJ Marea Stamper, FKA The Black Madonna has changed her name to The Blessed Madonna following backlash.
A well-known DJ within the music industry: Marea Stamper, formerly known as The Black Madonna, has officially changed her professional moniker following backlash regarding her controversial alias being dubbed as cultural appropriation and considered highly offensive.
After emailing Stamper regarding this issue and hoping to start a dialogue but receiving no response, DJ Monty Luke started a petition titled The Black Madonna: It’s Time to Change the Name. Luke details the reason for starting the petition which you can read here, calling on Marea to change her artist pseudonym:
Through the use of aliases, artist names, song titles and even clever publicity and media schemes, there have been countless examples of white artists appropriating aspects of black culture to their benefit. By creating a black identity, these artists aim to create authenticity, without acknowledging the damage and hurt they cause to black people and black culture.
Stamper’s moniker as The Black Madonna has been a point of contention for some time, with the artist explaining in an interview with The Quietus in 2017 the decision for her name related to her devout Catholic faith:
I am in the interesting position of having to answer for the cultural appropriation of a thing that definitively comes from my culture. The Black Madonna as a Medieval Catholic icon [with skin that appears dark due to either age or being made of dark materials] is the agreed upon meaning of this symbol for a billion people in my faith.
However in his petition, Luke disputes this, stating:
This 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.
In response Stamper has released a statement on social media announcing that she is officially changing her name from The Black Madonna to The Blessed Madonna, in light of new understandings:
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.
See her full statement below:
Friends,— The Blessed Madonna (@blessed_madonna) July 20, 2020
I have changed my name to The Blessed Madonna. pic.twitter.com/prCy5Qfb22
Feature Image: Marea Stamper via Twitter (previously Instagram, @blackmadonnachi)