Dance music star Black Madonna changes name over cultural appropriation claims

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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.

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 Dixie Chicks have also changed their name (Rich Lee/PA)

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.

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