If the Mother Monster hadn’t already done it on her own, a star could be born this way: being honored at Harvard’s 36th Annual Cultural Rhythms.
The festival, which celebrates Harvard’s diversity, returned to Sanders Theatre on Saturday with stunning student performances and a virtual appearance by Lady Gaga, who was named Artist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations and the Office for the Arts.
“I’m very, very honored to be here today,” said the Grammy and Academy Award-winning musician, actor, and activist. “I believe very much in the work that you’re doing, and I feel very, very appreciative to be seen for who I am and to be honored for my heart of all things. I think that the heart is very often overlooked, but it’s the thing that can get us into trouble, but it also can keep things moving in the direction that we need it to.”
Gaga appeared in a lively, pre-taped conversation with Derrick Ochiagha ’22, Aaron Abai ’22, and Nayleth Lopez-Lopez ’23, who asked the artist about nurturing her passions, the act of unlearning as a foundation for building a global community centered in liberation and justice, and her advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. Gaga shared that the practice of unlearning is a personal process that should analyze the systems we’re raised in that are “inherently sick with white supremacy and patriarchy.”
In 2012, Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, were at Sanders Theatre to launch the Born This Way Foundation, which supports the mental health of young people through programming, youth-led conversations, and cross-sectoral partnerships. Gaga has also used her platform to be an outspoken activist and supporter of issues including LGBTQ+ rights, HIV/AIDS awareness, and body image issues.