A petition urging Chicago producer and DJ The Black Madonna to change her name has gone viral on the internet this weekend after being signed by a litany of figures in the house music community.
— KingBritt (@kingbritt) July 19, 2020
“On June 14 of this year,” Luke writes, “I emailed Marea Stamper, in an effort to open a dialogue about the possibility of her moving away from using her DJ alias, The Black Madonna.
“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. I explained these things in my message and concluded the email with some practical suggestions on how the nickname/alias transition could take place.”
Luke says he didn’t get a reply, and “a follow-up email sent on July 7 also went unanswered. This is why I am now resorting to this public petition campaign to effect this change.”
I grew up under the Black Catholic faith and attended The Church of the Madonna in Detroit. I highly doubt any of the members of that church would find this a suitable name for the subject in question.
— Ashleigh Lauryn (@AshLauryn313) July 19, 2020
Since launch, the petition has recorded nearly 1,000 signatures and several interesting comments.
5 Mag has reached out for comment to the PR agent listed on her Twitter page. In an interview with Manu Ekanayake of The Quietus in early 2017, Stamper (who previously DJ’d under the name Lady Foursquare) stated that this was a “nuanced issue and people have many different definitions of this one thing… But here’s the thing: 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 Mediaeval 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.”
Photo via Change.org.