Yes, yet another blog post about whether or not Lady Gaga’s Superbowl was political. Here’s the short version: sure.
Many have praised how Gaga performed Born This Way, a queer anthem, in front of a typically heteronormative audience, including homophobe in chief Mike Pence. And sure, that can’t be argued. The power of this song and Gaga herself is undeniable but it’s very clear the audience this was meant for. The LGBTQ community.
As part of the community myself, I appreciate it. Perhaps not as much as I would have some years ago when I was first coming out and coming to terms with myself, but nonetheless I’m sure it helped some young queer kid out there.
However, as a Latina woman, as a Puerto Rican woman, it fell short. You can’t start off singing This Land Is Your Land in an attempt to be welcoming to everyone when This Land was stolen and My Land was exploited to the point of forcing me to come here. This romanticized reason for immigration, which has overrun mainstream political conversations concerning immigration, is shallow and fails to recognize
People don’t come to the U.S. to make their lives better because it’s the best country in the world, it’s because they’ve left us no other choice. This romanticized reason for immigration, which has overrun mainstream political conversations concerning immigration, is shallow and fails to recognize that this country was founded on murder and colonialism. These ideals are still very much at the core of the country today, just look at our current government.
The American Dream is the epitome of Stockholm Syndrome. I used to believe it once when I first came here. I hated my country. That hatred simmered inside me, ignited by only consuming American media and the constant colonialist ideologies that were thrown at me all throughout my life. I’ve finally made progress in unlearning some of this, seeing the U.S. as our jailer, instead of our benefactor.
Lady Gaga was politically on brand. I honestly can’t blame her. In an era when so many marginalized groups are being targeted, I wouldn’t blame people for putting their needs as a priority. That’s not to say that I don’t promote solidarity. It’s imperative to do so in terms of intersectionality and impactful change, but we can’t individually champion every fight equally. That’ll burn you out before you actually change anything.
Should Gaga have made a more educated and explicit political message? Perhaps, but there’s so much weight a white woman’s statement can make (Let’s not forget that most white women voted for Trump) without sounding like they’re taking over the conversation. Gaga was smart in staying in her lane, but she was also measurably safe.
I’m not sure how much ‘safe’ we can afford these days anymore.