Macha Colón, 2018 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grantee

Macha Colón (Gisela Rosario Ramos)

  • Artist Communities
  • San Juan, PR

My work is born out of my body. Growing up, I was inspired by the likes of Madonna, but I quickly realized I was never going to be like her—not because of a lack of talent but because I wasn’t blonde or skinny. Prince, Boy George, and other queer 80s pop stars were my artistic idols, but none of them looked like me. My mission was clear: I was a fat, queer, Afro-Latina woman and I would both channel and expand my idols’ subversive power with my body. I created an image that had been non-existent in pop culture: Macha Colón was born. Macha combines elements I’ve learned both formally and intuitively. Theater, pop music, fashion, drag shows and post-modern dance in a Caribbean, feminist and Afro-centric flavor consciousness, all in one body. It’s punk in essence though making it my own with tropical bright colors, rhinestones and glitter–tropical darks, some call it. Macha is everything popular culture establishment is afraid of—a fat woman on stage showing her skin, moving with aplomb, sexiness and humor, singing (and screaming) about rapturous experiences with catchy phrases that everyone wants to sing along to. Macha walks a thin line between humor and sexy— that celebrates sex and personal freedom, without taking itself too seriously like with the window dress where a stuffed bird comes out of the crotch and swings between her naked thighs. I make people laugh, while inconspicuously presenting a different kind of queer beauty where everyone feels welcome. Whether it be for the length of a concert or the four minutes of a music video, everyone can feel a healing sensation. I become their mirror, and my self-acceptance is theirs. This is what I’m supposed to do -challenge people’s perception of beauty. I keep questioning the standards of beauty – even the ones that I myself hold. Throughout the years, I have become aware of my own fears and negative self-body image and I’ve turned them into a challenge for myself. It’s why more and more I show my cellulite-filled thighs, my double chin, my back’s love handles that looks like tits and my facial hair. My work in general shows that imperfection is human and there’s no need to hide it. Macha as a musical performance project and my other projects as a filmmaker share an urge towards liberation. All my artistic practice is anchored in a political project towards emancipation. In the last couple of years, I began exploring with the same curiosity towards other queer bodies. I have been a resourceful multitasker in making projects happen that benefit the artistic and social communities around me, it’s been difficult to balance that with the time spent on my own work. After living through the hurricanes Irma and Maria, it’s so much harder to find performance and film work but my work has become more pertinent. That’s why now, more than ever, I have to dedicate my focus full time on my art. I’m at a point where I feel that I found my voice and I’m more clear about my skills and how to trust them.