Reported by Beenish Ahmed
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — No word yet on whether she’ll arrive in the egg-shaped “vessel” she rode in to last year’s Grammy Awards, but Lady Gaga will officially launch her Born This Way Foundation Wednesday at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre.
The Queen of Pop and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, are co-founders of the foundation, which aims to build “a braver, kinder world” for young people who are bullied by their peers.
Lady Gaga and Germanotta will share the stage with Oprah Winfrey, who will broadcast highlights from the event in an episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter.”
The foundation is to be a platform to focus Lady Gaga’s advocacy work, but it is by no means her first attempt to take a stand against bullying. The pop star who has sung in support of social acceptance in hit songs such as “Born This Way,” has thrown her support behind victims of bullying who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.
“Bullying must become be [sic] illegal,” she tweeted in September after 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide. The bisexual teen, who was harassed for this sexual orientation, cited Gaga as someone he looks up to in an “It Gets Better” video he posted to YouTube.
Before taking his own life, Rodemeyer quoted this Lady Gaga lyric from “The Queen” as his Facebook status: “Don't forget me when I come crying to heaven's door.”
Lady Gaga said after Rodemeyer’s death that she would meet with the president over the issue. She did visit the White House in December, but was only able to speak with members of Obama’s staff.
Now she is channeling her advocacy work into a single organization.
According to its website, the Born This Way Foundation aims to “foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated” through creating safe spaces, encouraging self-expression, and providing ways to implement solutions.
Lady Gaga and her mother partnered with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, which released a set of working papers as part of its “Kinder and Braver World Project” in collaboration with Lady Gaga’s foundation.
The Berkman center has helped “with the framing for their research agenda and the kinds of interventions that can be used to empower youth and to address issues like bullying in society,” said John Palfrey, the center’s co-director.
“Everyone on campus is extremely excited about the upcoming foundation launch, and it’s certainly generated a huge buzz,” Palfrey said.
Plenty of fans are expected to wait around Harvard’s Sanders Theatre for a glimpse of the Grammy Award-winning artist. Lady Gaga is known to be incredibly supportive of her fans, who she affectionately calls her “little monsters.” The mission of the Born This Way Foundation is to extend that support to anyone who’s taunted for being who they are.
The foundation will live-stream the event at Harvard Wednesday at 4 p.m.
This program aired on February 28, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.