The Blessed Madonna, FKA The Black Madonna, has addressed her recent name change in response to the amplified global conversation on race.
The US DJ-producer, whose real name is Marea Stamper, said last month that she “should have listened harder to other perspectives” about her stage name – in response to a petition that urged her to change it.
Now, in an interview with The Guardian, Stamper said the decision and process was “a very Catholic experience” because it showed her commitment to acting on her principles.
“There was no way that my name was not going to go through the prism of race,” Stamper told the publication. “In the end, I decided to let go of what is, in some ways, the very deepest part of who I was to show people who I am.”
She continued: “I was thinking about Christ in the garden at Gethsemane…he knows he’s going to get it tomorrow: ‘All my friends are going to turn against me.’ It’s relatable because you know what’s coming, you know it’s going to suck, but that it’s the right thing to do. As much as it was hard for me being a Catholic, faith was also the thing that said it was OK to change.”
Stamper, who is white, said that her original stage 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”. However, she came to recognise that it courted controversy.
With regards to her stance on striving for equality, in 2015 Stamper headed up the Daphne festival at Smartbar to place a spotlight on female-identifying and non-binary artists. And last year she pulled out of Intersect festival in Las Vegas after discovering it was backed by Amazon.
The Blessed Madonna is the latest in a line of musicians who’ve changed their names recently in light of a renewed focus on race and social justice.
The Dixie Chicks are now known as The Chicks, while Lady Antebellum are now called Lady A. A black US artist who’s performed under the name Lady A for more than 30 decades has since challenged the latter group and a lawsuit has been launched.