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Lady Gaga Says Born This Way Foundation is for ‘Youth Empowerment’

Christian Augustin, Getty Images

Let’s get one thing straight. Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way Foundation, which she launched last month with her mother and Oprah Winfrey at Harvard, is not an anti-bullying foundation. It’s a youth empowerment organization, which are two very different things. The Mother Monster clarified those key details in a ’10 Questions’ chat with Time magazine.

Gaga broke down some of the differences and how someone like her can enact change. She also fielded some hardball questions that Time lobbed at her pertaining to her persona and the power of her voice.

The BTWF is for youth empowerment: “This is about combating meanness and cruelty,” Gaga said. “This is about inspiring bravery in young people and their parents and culture worldwide to work toward a kinder and more accepting society.”

The BTWF does not distinguish between bullies and victims, which is a bold stance to take: “Each person is an equally important and valuable member of society,” she said, showing some empathy towards bullies. “What the foundation is about is a transformative change that is going to a long time to affect the overall culture. Bullies were born this way too.”

Gaga’s artistry and philanthropy are separate: When reminded that in 2008 she said she writes what she knows, which includes subjects like sex, pornography, art, fame, obsession, drugs and alcohol, Gaga explained that there is a key difference. “My work as an artist is completely separate from my work as a philanthropist,” she said.

Cynthia Germanotta is key in making the BTWF go: The Mother Monster’s own mother is the generator operating this project. “My mom and I are very close,” Gaga said. “One of the things I hope to impress upon everyone is that all it takes is just one person to believe in you.” Clearly, Ma G believes in her.

Gaga’s stage attire, wigs and heels are not a disguise, but an expression: When asked if she is hiding her true self via the Gaga persona, she said, “It may be perceived that my creativity is something I have to work on, when that’s probably the most natural part of me. I think we should try to not be cynical about the individuality of others. Perhaps instead of a disguise, people should see it as an expression.” She handled that one beautifully.

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