Amid online calls to change her pseudonym, renowned DJ and dance music producer The Black Madonna has announced an update to her artist name. Moving forward, she will create music and perform under the moniker The Blessed Madonna.
In addition to online pressure, the name change stems from a widely shared petition launched by Black Catalogue label founder Monty Luke, who believes The Blessed Madonna's previous name was a form of cultural appropriation. In the petition's description, Luke claims that he reached out to her to discuss the term, which he asserts "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," the petition continues. "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."
After the petition received over 1,200 supporters, she decided to change her name to The Blessed Madonna, taking to Instagram to share the news. "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," she wrote. "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."
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"But now I hear loud and clear," she continued. "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 affect 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."