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Berkeley professor researches high-poverty high school -

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Students aim to bring smiles to kids’ faces at Baystate Children’s Hospital -

December 11, 2017

Lady Gaga’s performance shines light on bigger issues

Lionel Hahn/Abaca Press/TNS

While the sounds of Super Bowl LI blasted throughout homes nationwide last night, I sat eagerly awaiting the halftime show. It was the only motivation for enduring the seemingly endless commercial interruption as I think even the commercials are more interesting than the game itself.

While I understand my scrooge-like opinion is an unpopular one among so many patriotic football fans sweating over their queso and warm beer, it’s not the Patriots that I dislike. It’s all things football.

But moving on, that’s not the portion of the Super Bowl I intend to analyze. The more interesting, culturally and socially relevant point of discussion is Lady Gaga’s halftime performance.

Since the beginning of her professional career, Gaga has been a leader for social issue of inclusivity. She has often voiced her left-leaning political opinions around acceptance and equality of all races and genders, especially in the context of the recent election and her support for Hillary Clinton.

This performance was no small symbol. As a woman who, according to Amanda Petrusich of the New Yorker, has routinely “advocated for misfits, throwing her considerable support and empathy behind anyone subject to marginalization,” Gaga should be applauded for taking on such a hateful opposition in front of a large and possibly disagreeable audience.

Gaga performed in front of millions, many of whom undoubtedly voted for President Donald Trump. This is a man who aggressively counteracts her views of equality and inclusiveness on a wide scale, a man whose slogan of “Make America Great Again” means a travel ban and an obtrusive wall separating the United States from Mexico in attempts to keep those who stray from the mold of the white, working upper or middle class out.

For these reasons we should applaud Gaga. She performed both as an act of entertainment, but more importantly as a face for change, love, respect, diversity and so much more.

If you, like me, admittedly, were shaking your head at the flashy costumes, strange mechanical dance numbers and superhero parallels between Gaga’s free-falling bungee inclusion, challenge yourself to take a look beyond the production to examine the work she does as a public figure, activist and loving human being to share her beliefs.

In her earlier days of “Bad Romance” and “Poker Face” that rocked us through our tumultuous teenage years, she could often be seen in dresses made from household materials or dinner ingredients (circa the meat dress days). Strange? Yes. A reason to write her off as someone other than the revolutionary that she is? Absolutely not.

If you’re still hung up on the glittery go-go boots I urge you to watch the performance once more. Not as an audience member at a concert closely critiquing all her crooked dance moves, but rather a detective dusting off your magnifying glass and examining the details of social justice.

For me, a memorable moment that really sealed the deal was during Gaga’s performance of a “Million Reasons” where she hugged a person of color as she soulfully sang “why don’t you stay?”

I hope I’m not alone in thinking that moment in time speaks for itself with powerful nods to the new administration.

Gina Lopez can be reached at gmlopez@umass.edu.

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