A Billboard interview with Lady Gaga posted Thursday saw the superstar touching on a variety of topics, from wearing masks to making music in a year defined by COVID-19 and racial injustice in America.
Gaga’s latest album, “Chromatica,” was released on May 29, the same week that police in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, sparking a wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the United States. At the time, Gaga devoted her social media feed to condemning the killing of Black Americans and specifically accused President Donald Trump of “fueling a system that is already rooted in racism and racist activity.”
“When you’re born in this country, we all drink the poison that is white supremacy,” Gaga told Billboard. “I am in the process of learning and unlearning things I’ve been taught my whole life.”
Many other celebrities posted similar messages after Floyd’s death; they also temporarily silenced their social media feeds with black squares in an effort to center public awareness on the fight for social justice. “Social justice is not just a literacy, it’s a lifestyle,” Gaga told Billboard and suggested she understood the resulting accusations of performative activism.
“What do I think about [posting] a black square?” Gaga asked. “I think everybody has a different feeling about a black square. Do I think there’s such a thing as performative activism? Yes. Do I think there’s been true activism that’s been very important and needed? Yes. Do I believe Black lives matter? Yes. Do I believe this is going to get louder? Yes. Do I believe it should? Yes.”
Gaga said that she hoped to pay homage to more people of color who pioneered the house sound featured on her latest albums, pointing to a recent remix of “Free Woman” from her “Chromatica” album by Black music producer and transgender activist Honey Dijon.
“All music is Black music,” the star said. “That’s just a fact.”
The interview also covered Gaga’s activities during the coronavirus lockdown. In April, the singer and her team coordinated a virtual “One World: Together at Home” concert with the likes of Lizzo, John Legend and Billie Eilish, which raised $35 million for the World Health Organization. In August, Gaga encouraged fans to wear masks at the MTV Video Music Awards by sporting a number of colorful outfits with outlandish face coverings.
“It’s really wrong for us to go, ‘I’m uncomfortable [with wearing a mask] because I can’t breathe,’” Gaga told Billboard, addressing anti-mask sentiment in the U.S. “Give me a break. Show some respect for the people who are there for us when we dial 911.”
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