The Subtle Protest of Lady Gaga

It is another week of Donald Trump’s Presidency, and another week of celebrities and the like protesting lighting up the internet by storm. For those of you who have been courageously protesting in your own form, I want to draw attention to Super Bowl Sunday, and the subtlety of Lady Gaga’s protest. 

For a while, the press had been asking Lady Gaga whether or not she would be vocally addressing the political climate in her performance, she responded by stating:

The only statements that I’ll be making during the halftime show are the ones that I have been consistently making throughout my whole career. I believe in a passion for inclusion. I believe in the spirit of equality and the spirit of this country as one of love and compassion and kindness. My performance will uphold those philosophies…Music is one of the most powerful things the world has to offer. No matter what race or religion or nationality or sexual orientation or gender that you are, it has the power to unite us. – Lady Gaga, People Magazine

On Sunday night, Lady Gaga kicked off her halftime show (estimated 116 million viewers), dressed as a human disco ball. Gaga began her performance with a powerful rendition of “God Bless America,” a song written by a Jewish Russian immigrant in 1918, that was previously boycotted by the Klu Klux Klan. Followed by a snippet of “This Land is Your Land,” whose lyrics originally included verses like this one:

“There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me. The sign was painted, said ‘Private Property.’ But on the backside, it didn’t say nothin’. This land was made for you and me.” 
The whole essence of Gaga’s rendition seemed hopeful, inclusive, pro-immigration and patriotic.

Gaga’s performance continued with hit-after-hit along with her chart-topper “Born This Way,” which included radically different lyrics that I am used to hearing at the Super Bowl.

“No matter gay, straight or bi, Lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.”

Gaga’s remarks on inclusivity and sticking to her original message rang true throughout her performance; however, I doubt her song choice was anything but accidental. I mean just the thought of singing the word “transgendered” at the Super Bowl seemed somewhat groundbreaking.

I recently read an article about the topic, where the author questioned whether or not Lady Gaga had taken “too soft” of a stance, due to the current political climate. Although Gaga has always been one to push the envelope politically, recently she has been showing a different side of herself throughout her performance and music, something that sounds more true to herself, less produced and more genuine. It was in this performance at the Super Bowl that Gaga moved beyond the current political climate that has been drenched with hostility, and did what she intended to do, unite people around music.

With the change from social media, to become somewhat of a credible news source, it appears as if we have become numb to politics and are motivated to respond out of anger and frustration. Then in our anger and frustration, we jump to messages that are hostile, less inclusive and opposite of the ideals and ethics we are trying to promote. If our goal is to push for inclusion and equality, our message must be just that. Gaga’s performance was just that, motivated and directed out of a love for music and performance, with an underlying message of unity, equality, and inclusion. Maybe, along with righteous anger, we remember to keep our hearts open with a goal of being transparent, inclusive, equal and loving.

I wonder which is more compelling for you? Let’s sit in this stew together for a hot minute, meet me in the crock pot comment section below, I’ll make sure to bring a side of freshly baked bread.