The artist formerly known as The Black Madonna has changed her DJ alias to The Blessed Madonna following an online petition.
The American DJ and producer, Marea Stamper, has announced on Twitter that she is changing her artist name from The Black Madonna to The Blessed Madonna, following accusations of cultural appropriation.
The change comes after Detroit artist Monty Luke launched an online petition, calling out her current alias for being “offensive” and “problematic”. According to Luke, The Black Madonna is an important symbol for many black catholics in the US, Caribbean and Latin America, and a central figure in “Black feminism and self-determination”.
“Religious connotations aside though,” he writes, “it should be abundantly clear that in 2020, a white woman calling herself ‘black’ is highly problematic.”
Stamper has previously defended the alias, asserting that the name has a connection to her own religious identity. As articulated in her Tweet yesterday, “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.”
Luke upholds that cultural appropriation is rife in the music industry, from aliases and song titles to publicity schemes. “By creating a black identity,” he writes “these artists aim to create authenticity, without acknowledging the damage and hurt they cause to black people and black culture.”
After briefly changing her social media handles to “The black Madonna” with a lowercase “b”, Stamper announced the name change. “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,” she says. “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.”