DJ The Black Madonna on performing at Sónar festivals and making dance music accessible for all
Sónar was a place I wanted to get to someday, says American DJ who’s one of the world’s most exciting turntablists, and one committed to promoting equality wherever she goes – including, this weekend, Hong Kong
Greeting a pulsating sea of arms with a “Good morning Sónar” midway through, she welcomed to the stage eatrench house DJ and LGBTQ icon Kiddy Smile to perform as the beats hit a celebratory high. Eclectic, energetic, euphoric and, most importantly, inclusive – these are the hallmarks of one of the world’s most exciting DJs, whose real name is Marea Stamper.
A 2016 documentary by online electronic magazine Resident Advisor dispelled any notion that Stamper leads a glamorous life. It showed how relentless touring is and its effects on her health and well being.
After years spent honing her craft in the US Midwest under her original stage name Lady Foursquare, hawking mix tapes from the back of her car, attending warehouse parties and performing as much as possible, Stamper started booking acts for the long-running Chicago club Smartbar, with a focus on local talent and female and LGBTQ artists.
Gender and racial equality have always been close to Stamper’s heart, and she’s well aware dance music still has some way to go: all the highest earning DJs on a Forbes 2017 list were male, and almost all were white, and female artists are outnumbered at most dance music festivals.
Stamper is playing her part in the evolution of the industry. “I am absolutely optimistic. I was an optimist before I had reason or indication to be. I am an optimist as a strategy,” she says.
Curious about the rest? Read the full interview here