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How Lady Gaga’s Halftime Performance Brought Politics Into Football

The halftime performance during the Super Bowl is one of the most highly anticipated moments of any sports season. From iconic performances by stars like Madonna, Michael Jackson and Beyonce, the most recent show by Lady Gaga did not disappoint. Although Lady Gaga flared her usual dramatics by being suspended from the roof of the stadium in a rhinestone covered leotard and boots, she did not remain silent about the current political situation. Gaga did not start off her performance with patriotic songs such as “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land” because she thinks the tunes are catchy—it was a definite statement to remind the people of America’s core: diversity, equality and liberty. In addition to her subtle allusion to politics in the beginning of her performance, Lady Gaga continued with nods to American politics and the several executive orders passed by President Trump. The performance was supported by a rather large ensemble of background dancers, all of a different race and gender. Selecting this diverse group of dancers was most definitely intentional by Gaga, making a point to say that anyone, no matter what way you were born, has a place in the world and this country.

Not only was the ensemble vastly diverse, but they were also costumed in high fashion purple capes, most likely to resemble the hoodie worn by Trayvon Martin when he was murdered, and the color of the Purple Reign campaign, an undeniable statement of support towards the Black Lives Matter movement. Gaga’s dancers were also equally adorned with her classic look of glittery eye makeup and dramatic lipstick, whether they were male or female. The choice to put all of her dancers in makeup was a direct reference to the topics surrounding gender identity, the limitations put on those of certain genders and the movement to abolish those limits.

More obviously, Lady Gaga reinforced her political statement made in her beloved hit “Born This Way,” by performing it during the halftime show. A song with a blatantly political message, it was not a coincidence that Gaga added it to the setlist for the evening. Overall, however, one could argue that Gaga’s political statements could have been much more volumized and highlighted. Although this is true, that choice within itself was a political statement made by Lady Gaga.

There is no doubt that recent American politics have been more intense than those we have experienced within the last eight years. Confusing tweets and the presentation of alternative facts have forced even the most informed civilian to double check every source, statement, and detail. Today’s Americans have to search for the truth and find the strength to remind themselves why it is so vital to uncover reality from under the veil of disorientation the current administration is trying to lay. Lady Gaga’s halftime performance mirrors this responsibility. Each political statement is so beautifully subtle, it forces the audience to look closer, blow the dust away and lift the veil to see what’s really underneath. Gaga proves her understanding of the current, dishonest state of our country and uses her power as an artist to send a message to the American people: look at what your leaders are telling you, do not be too easy to convince and keep your eyes wide, wide open.

Freshman at Emerson College, theater kid, coffee addict, and Delawarian at heart.
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