Being in the same room as Lady Gaga + Oprah Winfrey. The adorable-ness of the original mother monster aka Cynthia Germanotta. Watching a movement for youth empowerment come to life before my eyes. Lady Gaga said the launch of the Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) was one of the best days of her life. And I have to agree with her, 'cause I had the TIME OF MY LIFE too!
The goal of the foundation is to empower youth and inspire bravery. “I have this feeling that if I can make a song called ‘Just Dance’ really big all over the world. I might be able to make a song that’s you know…‘Just Be Nice,’” said Lady G. Along with talking shop about BTWF, she also waxed off on a bunch of topics from why she has so many followers on Twitter (not a #HumbleBrag) and her mom’s style tips to a really unique bus tour and the need to save bullies.
Along with Oprah and Cynthia, Gaga had a panel of speakers on stage with her, which included spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, 16-year-old Alyssa Rodemeyer, a BTWF youth ambassador and sister of the late Jamey Rodemeyer and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The event was held at Harvard. Here’s what you need to know about what went down:
+ Born Brave Bus
As I was trudging in the snow on Harvard’s campus in a Tracy Reese LBD, I came across a black bus with the words “Born to be Brave” inscribed on it. Next to the bus, a DJ was spinning EDM (people were getting down in the snow) and a few yards from the bus was an inspiration board of sorts, in which people wrote what the word “bravery” meant to them. And as one person wrote on the board, Bravery is unstoppable B****. What’s this bus all about? See for yourself in the video below.
The bus will follow Lady Gaga on the North America leg of her Born This Way Ball this year. You can kick it on the bus and talk about love, acceptance, kindness and all that good stuff. Doesn’t matter if you have a concert ticket or not, just come on down! “It’s going to be fun. It’s essentially a tailgate,” said an excited Gaga with her arms in the air. “Bring your cars. Put your cars all around the bus.” Sounds like a tailgating that could rival one at Giants Stadium.
+ Why Did Gaga Launch BTWF?
“It just sorta fell right in my lap,” Gaga told Ramsey, a Cambridge, MA student who asked her why she launched the foundation. “I put out ‘Born This Way,’ I put out the album, and the influx of dialogue and conversation was more massive than anything.”
“I was sent letters, emails, messages, Twitter…saying, ‘I want to help. I want to be brave. I want there to be more tolerance in the universe. I want there to be more acceptance.’ What I realized more than anything was that I never wanted this dialogue to end,” Gaga said to Oprah about creating the org.
Gaga also cited her mom as her muse for launching the foundation. Ever since Gaga was a wee little girl, O.G. Mother Monster taught her to always give back. She also admitted that she has stolen all her style tips from her swagged out mama. And in case you didn’t know, Cynthia Germanotta is the president and co-founder of BTWF. “This is the biggest dream come true for my mother and I. This is our first collaboration,” Gaga told the audience.
+ Gaga = #RealTalk
“I’m not here today to give you an answer,” admitted a pragmatic Gaga. “And I’m not here to tell you I can solve these problems.” She’s looking towards everyone -- from students to Harvard experts -- to help her create the best solutions “to challenge meanness and cruelty.”
“There is no law that can be passed [for being intolerant]. I wish there was ‘cause you know I’d be chained naked to a fence somewhere trying to pass it,” said Gaga as the audience LAWL’ed. “This really isn’t an overnight thing. This is a cultural change and movement that’s meant to be transformative and take place over time.”
+ Gaga on Her 20 Milli Twitter Followers
“I truly believe I have so many followers on Twitter just ‘cause I write nice stuff,” said Ms. Germanotta. “I don’t whine. I don’t make fun of anybody. I’m just really happy to be here,” she said with a gleeful giggle. What about the haters? “I also get tremendous amounts of hateful messages but I don’t talk about them. Why give it energy?” she asked.
+ Save the Bullies
Lady G stressed that BTWF is not an anti-bullying org; it’s a youth empowerment foundation. She also mentioned that there tends to be a big focus on the victim but not the bully. “The victim and the bully are on the same playing field. We’re dealing in both senses, with someone who’s going through a tremendous amount of mental turmoil. And how do we say ‘You are both equal members of society. You are both equal members of culture.’ How do we not just save the victim but also save the bully?” After she asked this thoughtful question the audience erupted into a round of applause. Her words make you think, right?
Oprah asked Gaga what she wants to happen by EOD (That’s End Of Day for you non 9-5ers.) What does Queen G think is the best thing we can do?! “If every single person in this room just told one human being that’s not here about everything that we talked about,” she said. OK, looks like I got the job done, right? And look, even if you weren’t at the launch, please share this story with a pal. As Gaga said to Oprah, "It’s all about spreading the message.” #PawsUp
Born This Way Foundation
Join Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, which is aimed at empowering youth and inspiring bravery.
Enter BTWF's Poster Contest
What does it mean to be Born This Way? Submit your poster idea to the Born This Way Foundation.