DJ and producer The Black Madonna has changed her stage name to The Blessed Madonna, after facing accusations of cultural appropriation.
The US musician, real name Marea Stamper, announced the decision on Monday in a post to her 125,000 Instagram followers.
Stamper said the name, which refers to statues and paintings in the Catholic and Orthodox Christian traditions depicting the Virgin Mary as dark-skinned, had become “a point of controversy, confusion, pain and frustration” which distracted from more important matters.
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Friends, I have changed my name to The Blessed Madonna. 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 effect 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. Thank you for listening. Stay blessed. -Love Marea PS: If you read this far, arrest the cops that murdered Breonna Taylor in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky: Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove.
The DJ, from the southern state of Kentucky, said 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”.
Stamper said she heard her critics “loud and clear” and that everyone had a “responsibility to try and affect positive change” in any way they can during these “extraordinary times”.
She concluded: “I want you to be able to feel confident in the person I am and what I stand for. Thank you for listening. Stay blessed.”
Her decision comes after a petition on Change.org garnered more than 1,200 signatures.
The petition, started by a user called Monty Luke, describes cultural appropriation as “the process by which aspects of one culture are copied and used (appropriated) by members of another culture”.
It says that “it should be abundantly clear that in 2020, a white woman calling herself ‘black’ is highly problematic”.
Following Black Lives Matter protests in recent months, a number of artists and sporting groups have changed their names.
American country trio The Dixie Chicks dropped the word Dixie from their title, while Lady Antebellum changed to Lady A over the term’s connotations with the pre-Civil War period in the United States when slavery was practised.