Leap Day comes but once a year, often bringing with it an array of small celebrations, sales, and other fun events of note. This year, the Harvard Square area was all a-twitter, because it just so happened that this was the day that Lady Gaga was in town to launch her much heralded Born This Way Foundation, at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre.
Local traffic/transit advisories included Gaga and snow, as the Mother Monster’s almost magical status seemed even more legitimate as she appeared during one of the few snow falls we’ve had this winter.
Local businesses even got in on the action, posting welcome signs, offering special deals to customers, and promising a portion of their proceeds to the foundation. Harvard Square cupcake spot, Sweet, even made special Lady Gaga decorated cupcakes. The location is no stranger to celeb visits, welcoming Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, and Suri Cruise when Tom was in town filming Knight and Day in 2009.
The normally ostentatious singer wore a simple long black sleeveless gown, and sheer brown gloves, with some rather tall platform heels peaking out from underneath. Not to be completely lackluster, her blonde hair was down up in a French twist and adorned with glittering net headpiece that came partly over her forehead, and jutted out in different directions from her crown.
The singer was joined by Oprah Winfrey, spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree. Gaga spoke to more than 1,100 students from several states, and introduced her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, as president of the foundation.
“This is not an anti-bullying foundation, this is a youth empowerment foundation,” said Lady Gaga.
Gaga, who was extremely composed, well spoken, and informed, showed a great understanding of the issues tackling today’s youth as she was questions on stage by members of the panel as well as audience members.
“I don’t have all the answers, in fact I have very few, but I am very passionate about this,” said Gaga. “We are all born superstars. I truly believe it takes very little to change the world, if we could all find a way within ourselves a way to be a little bit more loving more understanding more compassionate, then I believe we can change the world—the only problem is there are so darn many of us!”
In discussions in how the foundation will operate, Gaga talked about teaming with current youth empowerment organizations, utilizing social media, and even introducing the use of a new “Born Brave Bus,” which will follow her tour bus around the country and will help promote goals of the foundation regarding love and acceptance.
“I want it to be a part of the fabric of the school environment where people know that is it is not ok to be not accepting, it is not ok to not be tolerant, it is not ok to incite violence because you don’t understand something,” said Gaga.
Despite all the energy and enthusiasm in regards to the launch, Gaga acknowledged the tough road ahead.
“I wish there was a law that could be passed because you know I would be chained naked to a fence somewhere trying to pass it,” she said. “If anybody knows a way to get a message out there, it’s me. If I can make a song “Just Dance” maybe I can make a song called “Just Be Nice.”
Gaga’s representative said the singer has made a $1.2 million personal contribution to the foundation, named after her 2011 album and hit song.
“I don’t believe one person can change the world, I believe humankind as a whole can change the world.”
Photo Credit: Harvard University