Lady Gaga denounces racism and white supremacy in award speech: ‘Black life matters. Blackness matters. Black joy matters’

Accepting the ‘High Ground’ Award, the pop singer addressed her social responsibility as a high-profile artist and white woman

Rachel Brodsky
Los Angeles
Tuesday 19 January 2021 07:55 GMT
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Lady Gaga receives The Higher Ground Award for work in BLM movement

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Lady Gaga gave a powerful acceptance speech denouncing racism and white supremacy at King Center’s Beloved Community Awards. 

Accepting the Yolanda Denise King “High Ground” Award in a video message, the “Rain On Me” singer addressed her social responsibility as a high-profile artist and white woman.

“I am aware I am before you as Stefani Germanotta, my given name; as Lady Gaga, a famous white woman with the power of a large platform. My racial identity alone centres my whiteness while I’m still very much finding my place in creating Dr King Jr’s beloved community,” she said.

Dedicating her win to the Black community, Gaga drove home the fact that “Black lives matter”.

“Black life matters. Blackness matters. Black joy matters,” she said. “White people, I believe that Black life represents the best of our nation and as white people, I believe we have a responsibility to unlearn, to accept the honest truth about the history of our country, admit that white supremacy makes us unhealthy and change our own behaviours to contribute to a world where freedom is real for everyone."

Read More: Fans react to news that Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez will headline Biden-Harris inauguration: ‘Make National Anthem Great Again’

Gaga also called on her white friends to “right our wrongs without shame”.

“To adapt some of Dr King Jr’s language, I believe white people must qualitatively heal our insides and we must quantitatively change our actions and behaviours,” she said. “Unlearning allows me to walk through the world differently. I no longer say I don’t see colour, as I used to say. Instead, I now celebrate colour. Saying I don’t see colour was once the greatest thing standing in my way of understanding what a beloved community requires.”

Jennifer Hudson was on hand to present Gaga with her award on Saturday (16 January). The award was given to her for her activism during the summer of 2020 when Black Lives Matter protests arose around the US in response to the death of George Floyd.

Lady Gaga will sing the US national anthem at President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, 20 January.

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