This evening on a two-hour special “Oprah’s Next Chapter” is the Lady Gaga interview with Oprah Winfrey. It is a revealing and inspirational conversation with Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. In the past four years, this force of nature and natural talent has taken the pop culture by storm and at 25 years old, she holds some pretty impressive records including five Grammys and countless other awards and nominations. Her greatest fame is the 20 million Twitter followers worldwide which are her fan base to which she is eternally grateful.
The show starts and is majorly focused on the “Born This Way Foundation” which was created by Lady Gaga in conjunction with Harvard University and her mother to empower youth to stand up and be brave; to celebrate self and be proud of being born an individual, whatever way that is!
Oprah delivers the introduction speech to the launch of the “Born This Way Foundation” at Harvard’s Memorial Hall. When Lady Gaga is asked what she wants to see in one year, she replies the “Born Brave” bus which is to follow her tour bus from now on and is a safe place on wheels for teenagers to get help when they have been bullied as well as learn more about how to prevent this almost epidemic social problem. Her purpose of this campaign is to focus on the bully and the reasons behind the behavior to change the culture of aggression and acceptance of that aggression to one of more differential tolerance. She thinks there is a widespread misconception that simply passing a federal law will change the behavior, but as Oprah put it “You cannot legislate humanity!”
One of the best remarks in the opening speech given by Ms. Winfrey was every person is born with the divine right to be him or herself in this world and there should be no tolerance for individuals who wish to strip that individual of his identity. This is the goal behind the “Born This Way Foundation” which is about empowering youth through inspiring bravery.
This was the first television interview for Lady Gaga’s mother and the first time cameras have ever been allowed inside the family apartment home in New York City. Lady Gaga has a sister, Natalie, who is six years her junior and a talented artist in school. The first thing that is pointed out is the baby grand piano where much of the songs are written which was a thirteenth birthday present and then the case which houses the five Grammys. Gaga talks about how “Edge of Glory” was written with her father in ten minutes at the piano on the night her grandfather died as a tribute to the glorious life he lived. It is revealed there is one household rule which is for every accomplishment that is represented in the home for Stefani, there is a balancing one of Natalie.
Lady Gaga gets a lot of bad press but seeing her in her element makes one understand how very unique she is as she is humble and not as pretentious as the media makes her out to be. She is almost apologetic for the fame she has amassed. She talks a little but about Whitney Houston who was a great inspiration to her; in fact, she sang Houston’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the top of the staircase every afternoon following school and a clip of her dedication of her Grammy for “Born This Way” was made to Whitney. They family is very close and her parents were strict, but only to the degree she allowed them to be.
Gaga divulges her experience with bullying while in junior high school when she was made fun of and thrown in a trash can which she states to this day has left a scar which she continually struggles with. When Oprah asks her about how she keeps her ego in check following all the fame, she states it is through making sure her team understands they are the credit behind her famous status. She does not consider herself above them but equal to them just gifted in a different area. There was a discussion about the meat dress which was all the buzz and tells the audience it was talked about with family before embarking on the design. Oprah tries desperately to get her to affirm a relationship but Gaga will only state she is in a very happy place and apparently the man is not easily intimidated. She seems very private which she addresses later in the interview when she is talking about her alter ego who is named Joe (probably a tribute to the father she loves dearly) that she says she uses to reveal the private parts of her life she is uncomfortable with talking about outright. Oprah asks her if she believes she will marry and have children which Gaga answers yes because she wants to have a “soccer team.” Not really, but wants to experience motherhood and being a wife.
Oprah Winfrey gets Lady Gaga to admit she is scared of her family being hurt, emotionally or physically, by the controversy which is her industry and a result of her artistic expression. She talks extensively about her method of creativity which, as she puts it, can be very emotionally draining and seclusive. There is, however, all indications we have not seen the best Lady Gaga has to offer yet! She makes a remark about what she would now say to a younger Stefani which is “Buckle up! It’s gonna be a wild ride!” to attest to the fact her transition from youth to adult was filled with finding a balance of self-expression in her music which allows strives to strike a nerve. This seems to be something she has done in spades with the “Born This Way” single which has become her mantra. She knew she had hit the mark when the release created pandemonium among fans and critics. There was a reminder of Jamey Rodemeyer whose death deeply affected Gaga when he committed suicide last fall as a result of bullying after he sent a personal message to her. He was, in part, a major reason behind the “Born This Way Foundation.”
During the interview segment with Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia, it is discovered she has always been provocative and pushing the envelope which her family has come to appreciate even though her father thought she had a screw loose when she appeared on stage with Lady Starlight in a very revealing costume. Cynthia states she worries about Stefani’s safety as well especially when she is in her “creative phase.” As they go through the mail which comes by the basketful each day, a letter from a grandmother is taken out along with some of the gifts she receives from fans. Her mother shows Oprah the “Grateful Journal” kept when she was younger following a show Oprah had done about writing down each day what you are grateful for. It was dated 1997. In ending the interview, Cynthia wanted to make sure fans and critics alike knew that this woman known as Lady Gaga is genuine and fundamentally the same at her core as every other human which many has come to identify with; she is just exceptionally talented and unabashed about its expression. This is who she is, so buckle up; it’s gonna continue to be a wild ride!
Image courtesy of OWN