With a little help from Oprah Winfrey and a few others, Pop singer turned philanthropist Lady Gaga formally and officially launched her “Born This Way Foundation” Wednesday (Feb 29) at Harvard University.
The newly launched foundation’s point of existence is to “challenge meanness and cruelty by inspiring young people to create a support system in their respective communities,” Gaga said.
Though bullying is a favorite cause of Gaga’s, the singer says that the BTW foundation wasn’t created to just fight bullying alone, but rather to empower youth and promote bravery.
“When you see someone being negative to somebody else, it’s OK to intervene and stand up for someone that needs it … I don’t believe that one person can change the world. I believe that humankind, as a whole, can change the world,” Gaga told a crowd of more than 1,000 people.
She continued, “I’m doing everything I can, working with experts, studying statistics, trying to figure out a way we can make it cool or normal to be kind and loving,”
25-year-old Gaga says she was bullied in school, and knows that it will take a while to shift people’s perceptions about bullying. But she says the first step is not to demonize bullies.
“We do not make a distinction between the bully and the victim. Because each person is an equally important and valuable member of society,” she said. “What the foundation is about is a transformative change that is going to take a long time to affect the overall culture. Bullies were born this way, too.”
Asked why she feels as though she can change the world’s perception on bullying, Gaga laughed, “I guess I sort of have this feeling that if I can make a song called ‘Just Dance’ really big all over the world, I might be able to make a song that’s, you know, ‘Just Be Nice!’”
Gaga also revealed that a “Born Brave Bus” will follow her tour bus this year, and anyone and everyone from all walks of life will be invited to meet with others and discuss love, acceptance and kindness. She said fans will be able to hang out at the bus, even if they don’t have tickets to her concerts.
During the press conference at Harvard, Lady Gaga was joined by Oprah Winfrey and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, who will serve as the foundation’s president.
Oprah says her involvement with the foundation is based on her own personal values.
“What is exciting to me,” Winfrey said, “is that thought leaders have gathered together as one force to ask why does bullying and violence and hatred against young people continue in our society and what we can do about it.”
Watch video footage from the press conference below: