Dave Lee Will No Longer Use His Joey Negro Stage Name
Written by Rhythm 86 on July 22, 2020
Dave Lee has dropped his Joey Negro alias.
The English DJ and producer addressed the name change in a Facebook post yesterday, in which he also explained the story behind his most popular alias and why he kept using it for three decades.
“In truth I’ve not felt comfortable with the name Joey Negro for a while, especially as I’ve got older. I’ve stopped using it a few times but establishing a new name as an artist isn’t easy and I’ve ended up going back to it. I understand now though that it’s not appropriate for me to carry on using the name. I’ve recently received emails, tweets etc saying that it is unacceptable and people find it out of place in 2020 – and I agree.
“From now on I’m dropping Joey Negro as a pseudonym, and all those future releases that weren’t already in production will carry the name Dave Lee.
“I’m sorry to have caused any offence. My whole life has been about music but particularly black music, I love soul, funk, disco, jazz in a way that’s impossible for me to articulate in words and I have tried to champion it with the best intentions. Please be aware the changes are not instant everywhere.”
Lee originally came up with the Joey Negro alias after putting together the names of two artists whose vinyl he owned, Pal Joey and J Walter Negro.
“I had a pile of records next to my desk at work, amongst them was Pal Joey “Reach Up To Mars” and J Walter Negro “Shoot The Pump”. I wrote down a few of the names off the vinyl and put them next to each other.
“The one time I’d heard a J Walter Negro record on the radio as a new release the DJ announced it as “Negro”, the Spanish pronunciation, and that’s how I heard the name as I used it. Why didn’t I use Dave Lee? In retrospect I should have done, but to be completely honest it just seemed boring compared to the likes of Junior Vasquez, David Morales or Frankie Knuckles who were making some of my favourite records at the time. The Spanish house label Blanco Y Negro had a big record with Real Wild House and there was another song Piano Negro, I felt Joey Negro gave it a Latin American feel so it would fit in peoples record boxes. Many of the disco records I bought in the late 70s/early 80s were producers under pseudonyms, there didn’t seem anything odd about not using my birth name. Back then I never ever imagined the name as a longterm thing that I’d ever DJ under or be addressed as face to face. It was just for the label of a record.”
Read the full statement below.
I’ve understandably been asked the question of how did you come up with the alias Joey Negro many times. If you don’t…
Lee’s statement came a day after The Black Madonna had announced is rebranding herself as The Blessed Madonna.
The American DJ and producer, real name Marea Stamper, adopted a new stage name in response to an online petition created by Detroit artist Monty Luke, titled “The Black Madonna: It’s Time To Change The Name“. According to Luke, the alias The Black Madonna is a form of cultural appropriation, holding “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. Religious connotations aside though, it should be abundantly clear that in 2020, a white woman calling herself ‘black’ is highly problematic.”
Read Marea Stamper’s statement in full.