The Black Madonna News and Reviews - Mixmag

The Black Madonna

The Black Madonna

In December of 2012, The Black Madonna - real name Marea Stamper - was announced as a new resident at Chicago’s Smart Bar, North America’s oldest independent venue. After a year in this position opposite canonical heavyweights Derrick Carter and Frankie Knuckles, she was promoted from DJ to the club’s first creative director. As an artist, she earned a reputation for balancing the quintessential with the distinctive; an approach she applied to this new position, adding Honey Soundsystem, DVS1, Regis, Honey Dijon and progressive events such as Men’s Room to Smart Bar’s already diverse programming.

Fast-forward to the present day, and Stamper is at the forefront of the contemporary house music vanguard. Touring relentlessly to exhibit her dynamic technicality as a DJ to wider world and offering other selectors new opportunities to win over a dancefloor with contemporary classic of her own such as ‘Exodus’, her profile rose to previously undiscovered heights of DJ success (see her Grand Theft Auto Online cameo with Dixon, Solomun and Tale of Us).

Perhaps even more important than her ability as a DJ, however, is Stamper’s set of tightly-held values. She is not content with the white guys staying in charge; therein lies a hegemony that ought to be subverted for the good of the party. As she so sublimely put it herself: “Dance music needs riot grrrls. Dance music needs Patti Smith. It needs DJ Sprinkles. Dance music needs some discomfort with its euphoria. Dance music needs salt in its wounds. Dance music needs women over the age of 40. Dance needs breastfeeding DJs trying to get their kids to sleep before they have to play. Dance needs cranky queers and teenagers who are really tired of this shit. Dance music needs writers and critics and academics and historians. Dance music needs poor people and people who don't have the right shoes to get into the club. Dance music needs shirts without collars. Dance music needs people who struggled all week. Dance music needs people that had to come before midnight because they couldn't afford full admission. Dance music does not need more of the status quo.”

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