To mark International Women's Day, Smirnoff are launching a three-year initiative to tackle gender inequality in music, and have linked up with the Chicago-based DJ and producer The Black Madonna to champion the cause.
The Equalising Music initiative was kicked off with the premiere screening of the Femme Electronic documentary (featuring The Black Madonna and Uganda's DJ Rachel), followed by a discussion panel with Broadly editor Zing Tsjeng, The Black Madonna, NTS host Moxie and Smirnoff's Leila Fataar. From there, the star of the night took to the DJ booth (alongside selectors Moxie and HAAi) to bring some wildly eclectic rave sets that spanned '80s house classics to bleeding-edge club bangers. The Black Madonna has always gone to lengths to use her status to champion a variety of issues and to give a leg up to talent she feels is being overlooked.
Throughout our conversation, The Black Madonna (née Marea Stamper) spoke quickly and passionately about the state of play in dance music, and the world in general. Many of the criticisms she made of the music industry could generally be leveled at the rest of society, but there are still issues that are unique to dance music such as the disproportionately low number of women, trans or non-binary people on line-ups. Complex sat down with The Black Madonna to discuss her role in the project, the achievable targets she hopes the initiative will hit, and why we should remain positive.