SADONNA | Reflections: Kevin Jesuino

In an evening in which Miguel Guiterezz sings sad versions of Madonna songs to us, we are reminded of what our heroes do to inspire us! How the fine line between inspiration and appropriation is all in a matter of interpretation and context. And, how sometimes that idol so perfectly mirrors your identity (queer, latinx) that you can’t help but associate with their music — B****, she’s Madonna!

We see the dark underbelly of appropriation as Miguel sings Madonna’s iconic “Vogue”, a word she appropriated and made the title of her most famous hit. Miguel, throughout his version of “Vogue”, honours the houses of Ninja, Aviance, Xtravaganza, Infinti and others who are the houses that serve as alternative families for primarily black and latino gay, gender non-conforming and transgendered youth who have been kicked out of their homes for being gay. Reminding us that “It matters if you are black or white. A boy or a girl. Vogue!” Madonna’s version has seen everyone moving their arms and posing like a runway model since its release in the early 1990s. But in fact, the title of this song is ripped from some real truths about our vulnerable LGBT+ youth population and Madonna just made a whole lot of money off it. Much like this song, Miguel, spends the night transforming Madonna songs into versions of reality that hit home to many of us. Whether it’s a broken relationship, someone who has passed or honouring the members of our community that maintain our community, Miguel takes us on a journey well beyond the different hair styles of Madonna over the decades to a cathartic space that honours the many types of (complicated) relationships we have with people in our lives.

To honour both Madonna and Miguel, here are some appropriated lyric’s from Madonna’s “B****, I’m Madonna”:

We hit the elevator right up to the rooftop

(And by that we mean: we hit the stairs going down to Dickens)

The bass is pumping

(It was a melancholic bass)

Make me wanna screw the top off

(This is Miguel Guiterrez doing sad songs to Madonna Louise Ciccone, come on!)

Yeah, we'll be drinking, and nobody's gonna stop us

And we'll be kissing anybody that's around us

(consensually, please!)

I just wanna have fun tonight

(And, oh damn, it was a fun night)

Pull me out of the flashing light

(We can do better than that, we got a whole lighting grid at Dickens)

Ohh ohh ohh ohh

Let me blow up this house tonight

(Miguel isn’t just a dancer. Or a singer. He’s provocative!)

We go hard or we go home

(Truthfully, I came home and listened to Madonna on repeat)

We gona do this all night long

(I, did, really)

We get freaky if you want

(Madonna is also a singer and dancer and wants to be provocative … like Miguel)

Na na na na

B**** I'm Madonna

(B****, he’s Miguel)


Kevin Jesuino is a Queer Portuguese-Canadian settler in Treaty 7 land, Mohkinstsis also known as Calgary, Canada. He is a performance maker, artist, teacher, and community facilitator. His work is varied in style and method, with forms often found through collaborative and relational practices with people, place and material. His community-embedded projects engage participants in performative actions, discussions, creative interventions, activations and other forms of organizing —positioning art & culture as a vehicle for meaningful social change and amplification of societal concerns.

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