Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, took over Harvard University to launch their Born This Way Foundation on Wednesday (February 29). In front of a crowd that included Oprah Winfrey, the New York natives kicked off their inspirational foundation, hoping to empower the youth of America.
"I was recently with the great Gloria Steinem, who said that sometimes the only way you can get attention to a problem is to freak people out," Oprah said at the event. " 'Break the form,' she said. You have to stop playing the game in order to change the content. Lady Gaga, with her music and her message and her own story, is breaking the form, and she is changing consciousness. She says that she wasn't put on earth just to sing songs; her passion is to be that force for good. The Born This Way Foundation is in line with so many of my core beliefs."
Gaga enthusiastically opened up about the foundation and what she hopes to do with it. "I just have one thing to say before we get started: We got Oprah! ... Thank you from all of us — from my entire team, from my mother, from the bottom of the hearts of so many people who believe in what we're doing today," she said, wearing a chocolate-brown gown, brown lace gloves, towering platforms and a sparkly fishnet hat.
"I'm not here today to give you an answer. And I'm not here to tell you I can solve these problems [of bullying]. This is about transformative change in culture over a period of time. One of the most important things I wanted to share with all of you today, it's no secret I speak out against bullying. This is not an anti-bullying foundation; this is a youth-empowerment foundation," she continued. "This is about changing the climate of the school environment and not putting the power in the hands of the teachers or the government. It is about the bubble effect. I don't believe they have the answers; I believe that you do."
In addition to her fans, Gaga said her biggest influence to start the foundation is her own Mother Monster. "My mother really inspires me, because she talked about giving back ever since I was very, very young," she said. "And the more that I got to know my fans, the more that I realized that not everybody has that support system at home."
Her mother later enthused that despite the snow outside, "It is even more beautiful inside because we are launching the foundation. The youth that is listening: you are the leaders of our future."
Gaga also revealed another aspect of the foundation: "There is a bus now called the Born Brave Bus. So the Born Brave Bus is essentially a bus that is going to travel and follow my tour bus around the country, and it will welcome anyone from any walk of life to come and hang out and talk about love, acceptance, kindness and so forth. And the best thing about it it's going to be fun. It's going to essentially be a tailgate. This is not about saying, 'I need help,' but if you do, you can come. If you want to help someone else, you can come and say 'Hey, what's up?' "
At the end of the day, Gaga said the foundation "is all about saying the power is in your hands. There really is sort of a focus on the victim, but what I want to point out today is that the victim and the bully are on the same playing field. How do we say, 'You are both equal members of society'? How do we not save not just the victim, but also the bully? I want the Born This Way Foundation to empower the youth of the world."
Gaga further explained that one of the core values is teaching her fans to empower themselves to be "brave."
"This, again, is not focused on bullying, the bravery aspect; I want for young people to know they have the power," she said. "How can we inspire young people to know they have the power to be brave?"