The Beloved Community Awards honoured Lady Gaga on January 16th with the Yolanda King "High Ground" Award.
The artist and founder of the Born This Way Foundation received the Yolanda Denise King "Higher Ground" Award for her activism during the summer of 2020 when tensions in the United States arose after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is said to be the largest movement in history, and Lady Gaga addressed the movement and her support many times.
Prior to the event, Lady Gaga released a statement about the honour:
It’s about gratitude to all people of colour who contribute to the #BelovedCommunity and a commitment I wish to speak to White people about called “Unlearning.”— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 16, 2021
Gaga spoke about Unlearning and how important it is for white people to commit to it. "Black lives matter. Black life matters. Blackness matters. Black joy matters. White people, I believe that black life represents the best of our nation. And as white people I believe that 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."
The singer also denounced white supremacy: "Systems of white supremacy were designed by humans. They are literally socially constructed, which means they can be dismantled by humans. I believe that one way freedom can be possible is when white people accept that systems of oppression serve us while literally taking the lives of people of colour."
Gaga ended her speech with the following: "In the Beloved Community of our future, we, black, brown, indigenous, and white people, embrace our collective humanity. Let us use love, criticality, and empathy to pour water on the flames of hatred and division. Let us use honesty, radical acceptance, and measurable action, so that freedom is truly possible. With an open, humble, and fearfully optimistic heart, I invite all of us, and especially white people, to join me on the path to a beloved community. I believe that justice can finally begin to be realized, at least in part, when and if folks who look like me commit to a lifetime of unlearning. I love you. Thank you so much."
You can learn more about the The King Center and how to donate at thekingcenter.org.