Lady Gaga visited the prestigious Harvard University Wednesday to launch her Born This Way Foundation at Sanders Theater, bringing along quite the panel of experts and notable people.
Among those attending was Oprah Winfrey, who set the mood for the event before introducing Gaga: “I believe that every human being that comes to the planet comes with the inherent and divine right to be himself or herself.” After a few more words, the media mogul introduced Lady Gaga and conducted a short, live interview style conversation. The multi-platinum recording artist promptly outlined her foundation's goals exclaiming, “I am not here today to give you an answer ... this is about transformative change over a period of time.”
Gaga went on to say that she believes students have the answers, so we shouldn’t put the power “in the hands of the teachers or the government.” Gaga finally explained her “Born Brave” bus parked nearby the event, saying it will follow her tour bus across the country to welcome anyone “to come hang out and talk about love and acceptance” at concerts. She hopes this will encourage “pockets of communities all over the country where there are youths empowered.”
After hugging Oprah goodbye, the singer sat in the middle of several experts for a court room-style interrogation about her foundation. Among those experts were Deepak Chopra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Harvard Law School professor Charles J Ogletree, who moderated the conversation. Gaga explained to the experts that she “would like to do psychological autopsies on as many bullies and victims as possible,” to understand “what breathes hate, what breathes anger.” In doing this, she says, we can understand and pick up on people’s signs so we can stop bullying before it escalates to a horrible incident. Gaga mentioned the well-known, preventable incident of Columbine. She used this horrendous high-school shooting to exemplify the use of multiple signs, coming from the shooters in this case, that need to be noticed and dealt with, rather than ignored.
Alyssa Rodemeyer, sister of teen suicide victim Jamey Rodemeyer, was also among the panel of experts. Gaga called Alyssa the “first empowered youth,” saying she hopes to have kids like Alyssa throughout the country in the future “who can be an ambassador of the Born This Way Foundation” to monitor the environment of their schools and step in at any time if there is someone in danger. Gaga reiterated her message of bravery too. “I want young people to know that they have the power to be brave.” Alyssa highlighted that same sentiment, saying that she tries to lead by example at her school and if others do the same, people will follow.
Psychologist Susan M. Swearer was another panelist. Swearer said that teachers and parents need to be educated to make this cultural change, but Gaga swiftly disagreed. “I don’t think that works,” she said. “I don’t know that teachers even give a shit, some of them ... what I want is for someone like Alyssa to be the person that intervenes.” She continued this thought by saying this method has been in use for too long and it isn’t working. Then, Gaga sent an impactful final message of empowerment. “Call upon yourself to know that it’s not going to be just the experts or the umbrella that’s above us that is going to change things, it is going to be all of you.”
Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, are now officially leading a cultural movement towards a more accepting society. In their first collaboration, the mother-daughter team are making it their priority to spread their message of youth empowerment and bravery for years to come. Gaga solidly said several times at the event, “Use me!”
With her unlimited resources, and our billions of thoughts and stories, we can change the world. And as Gaga claimed at the event, “It isn’t that hard to change the world.”
Photo Credit: Elliot Friar