Lady Gaga creates PSA for anti-bullying programs
The suicide of 14 year-old Jamey Rodemeyer in New York in September, 2011, has prompted Lady Gaga to use her platform to stand up and speak out against bullying. Jamey passed away on September 18, 2011 in his backyard. He was discovered by his sister, Alyssa who attended the same school.
At a concert a few days later, Gaga dedicated the song “Hair” to Jamey, one of her “Little Monsters.” She also spoke briefly with President Obama about federal legislation against bullying. She has called bullying a “hate crime” and pledges to keep up her efforts since her generation has the power to do something about it. She also created a public service announcement praising the work of 17 year-old Emily-Anne Rigal for her website: www.WeStopHate.org
Laws, although well-intended, are not the answer to changing a culture of disrespect and bad behavior. As psychiatrist Eric Caine of the University of Rochester Medical Center states in the following opinion piece, “Bullying laws are ‘off target'”:
“Hateful speech, belittling people and constant or repetitive interpersonal intimidation are unacceptable, but can these common behaviors realistically be limited by legislation? Laws are no substitute for diligent parenting, thoughtful leadership and constant efforts by all of us to identify and limit bullying before it damages victims.”
In November, 2011, Lady Gaga announced her Born This Way Foundation, a non-profit charity aimed at empowering youth. In announcing the project, she stated “Together we hope to establish a standard of bravery and kindness, as well as a community worldwide that protects and nurtures others in the face of bullying and abandonment.” The foundation will be launched in 2012 and will address issues including self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development. Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, will direct the Foundation.
On December 4, 2011, Gaga received a “hero”award from The Trevor Project at their annual fundraising event. Her remarks included the following:
“I appreciate this award so much. But truthfully, I am not the hero. The hero is Jamey,” Gaga said in her emotional acceptance speech (found on YouTube). “I want my fans and people all over the world to know that there’s always somebody that’s listening. But I want them to know they’re listening before it gets too late.”