Lady Gaga surprises Stonewall crowd with impassioned speech for LGBTQ equality
The Oscar-winning pop icon made a surprise appearance at New York City’s landmark bar on Friday, giving an impassioned speech in the name of equality outside the venue where, on June 28, 1969, a group of queer patrons fought back against a discriminatory police raid.
“I am so emotional today,” a tearful Gaga said as she took the stage on Manhattan’s Christopher Street for Pride Live’s Stonewall Day Concert. “This community has fought and continued to fight a war of acceptance, a war of tolerance, and of the most relentless bravery. You are the definition of courage.”
She then discussed her own experience as a bisexual woman (“I like girls sometimes” she said) before crediting the LGBTQ community for changing her life for supporting her early career.
“The universe brought us together in the spirit of kindness, and together we’re a powerhouse. I hope you celebrate every inch of who you are today. You were born this way and you are superstars!” she said, championing the safe space the current generation has created for queer youths to come out of the closet and openly express their gender identities. “I will continue to fight every day during shows, and even when I’m not on stage, to spread a message that’s actually quite simple: Be kind. And that kindness belongs to you. It always has belonged to you, even when the world was not kind, it belonged to you; all the galaxies, stars, and even God, I know [they] all had your back. So today, and I hope every day: Dance, sing, rejoice, worship yourself, worship each other!”
Gaga closed her speech with a call to action against violence against transgender people.
“It is said that those who threw the first brick on that historic night were members of the trans community. And while we have made tremendous progress, we find ourselves at a time where attacks on the trans community are on an increasing rise each day. I will not tolerate this,” proclaimed Gaga. “That distance between us and them — those who are not listening and who do not understand — that is the space for an important dialogue as a community and how we all move forward together to change the system of an extremely oppressive administration. I know that you will not stop. You will never give up… You don’t back down. You don’t shrink into shame… Be bold and embrace the Stonewall legacy. Love each other raise your voice and my gosh, vote, don’t forget to vote!”
“This is my mothership, and you are my leaders and I will follow you. I surrender to all hatred because, you know what, I will kill it with kindness,” concluded Gaga. “True love is when you would take a bullet for someone, and you know that I would take a bullet for you any day of the week.”
Gaga joined the likes of high-profile political and entertainment figures who gathered at the bar for Stonewall Day, a special, surprise event honoring LGBTQ history. Speakers and performers included Chelsea Clinton, Donatella Versace, Grace VanderWaal, Wilson Cruz, Alex Newell, Pose stars Angelica Ross and Ryan Jamaal Swain, RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen (who was joined by Alicia Keys for a performance of “Girl on Fire”), Whoopi Goldberg, Conchita Wurst, and former presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett, who read a letter addressed to the crowd from Barack Obama.
Gaga’s Stonewall Day appearance comes after one of the most successful stretches of Gaga’s 11-year career in the entertainment industry, as she launched a sold-out Las Vegas residency show titled Enigma, won three Grammys, earned an Academy Award, became the first woman to earn five No. 1 albums this decade, and scored her first No. 1 single in the United States since 2011 with A Star Is Born‘s signature hit “Shallow” — all within the last year.
Gaga previously confirmed to EW that she had begun work on the album in August 2017.
“I’ve started writing,” Gaga said of the planned album. “I have a lot of ideas and a lot of things I want to create, so you’ll see in a bit. I need some time to create.”
Prior to releasing the soundtrack for A Star Is Born in late 2018, Gaga dropped her last solo LP, Joanne, in October 2016; she supported the studio set with a massive world tour and an accompanying Super Bowl halftime show performance watched approximately 150 million times across digital platforms in February 2017.
Collaborations rumored to appear on LG6 include songs made with Scottish producer SOPHIE, German techno master Boys Noize, and Gaga’s Joanne contributors Mark Ronson & BloodPop.