The Black Madonna: It's Time to Change the Name

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The Black Madonna: It's Time to Change the Name

This petition made change with 1,247 supporters!


Cultural appropriation is the process by which aspects of one culture are copied and used (appropriated) by members of another culture. This phenomenon can be  especially problematic when members from a dominant culture appropriate from a minority culture. Often times, this usage is done without the permission of the minority culture and the original intent and cultural context of those elements are often degraded or lost entirely. We have seen this countless times in the realm of pop culture over the years and especially so in the world of music. 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. 

On June 14 of this year, 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. 

I received no response.

In the intervening time, several artists and organizations with much deeper and long-standing ties to problematic nicknames announced they would no longer be using them. Lady Antebellum, The Dixie Chicks, Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians and the NFL team based in Washington D.C., have all made the change. Why can't Marea Stamper? The reality is, there is no better time to make such a change. No one is working. She could tell her management team she has decided to no longer use the nickname. They could send out a typical press release announcing the change and when things do start back up, easily complete the transition by putting "(The Black Madonna)" in parentheses by her own name(or whatever new alias she chooses) for a few weeks on all gigs/flyers/socials/etc.  Anything done before the switch(music, merch, video games, etc) stays as-is.

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. 

Sign this petition to show your solidarity and support and to send a clear message to Marea Stamper that the use of her current alias is problematic, offensive and that you would like to see it changed. 

Sources & Additional Info:

Detroit's Black Madonna turned church into social, political force

Shrines of the Black Madonna - Detroit/ATL/Houston

The Point Mag - It Was More Than A Notion: Albert Cleage Jr's' Black Christian Nation

Chicago's Theaster Gates Addresses the Black Madonna in 'Do you hear me calling?' Film

A Conversation on the Bleaching of Techno: How Appropriation is Normalized and Preserved

Cultural Appropriation on Wikipedia

PLEASE help me get the word out, and share this campaign on your social media platforms. Thank you to everyone who is lending support to this effort.



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