Joey Negro Called to Change Name Following The Black Madonna Controversy

by | Jul 21, 2020 | Culture, Stories | 0 comments

On July 20th, Marea Stamper changed her stage name from The Black Madonna to The Blessed Madonna after being accused of cultural appropriation in an online petition. Joey Negro could be next.

The U.K. DJ, producer and remixer of disco, whose real name is Dave Lee, adopted the pseudonym in 1990 to pay homage to the musical Pal Joey and early hip-hop artist J. Walter Negro. That context doesn’t matter to some members of the dance music community. Commentators on Twitter expressed outrage that he kept the name for 30 years without consequence, some saying they were shocked to learn that he was white.

Others have come to Lee’s defense, arguing that the “Negro” part of his moniker is pronounced with a long “A” sound as it’s simply the Spanish word for “black.” Among them is Carl Craig, an electronic musician of color and second-wave Detroit techno mainstay.

Matters of race and dance music have received more attention – and resulting action – in the wake of protests stemming from the May 25th, 2020 death of George Floyd, a black man. Video taken from passersby captured his apparent murder by since-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he begged for his life. In June, demonstrations spread to every U.S. state and at least 13 other countries.

A spokesperson on behalf of Dave Lee did not immediately respond to Selector‘s request for comment.

UPDATE: Dave Lee has announced that he will no longer go by Joey Negro with the following statement:

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