Lady Gaga’s powerful performance of “Til It Happens To You” brought Hollywood to tears Sunday night (February 28) at the 88th Academy Awards.
Introduced by Vice President Joe Biden, who asked viewers at home to pledge, “I will intervene when consent has not or cannot be given,” Gaga’s gripping performance was simply staggering in its grace and empathy.
“Til It Happens To You” is an extremely personal song for the 29-year-old performer. Gaga — who is a rape survivor herself — co-wrote the song with Diane Warren for The Hunting Ground, a documentary about the epidemic of sexual assaults on campuses, and the failure to prosecute these crimes.
While at her piano, Gaga was joined on stage by dozens of sexual assault survivors, including Annie E. Clark and Andrea Pino, two of the subjects of The Hunting Ground. Each had a message boldly scribbled on their forearms, from “Not Your Fault,” to “Survivor,” to “It Happened To Me.”
Needless to say, it was an emotional, and incredibly groundbreaking, performance. Gaga may not have taken home the big prize — Sam Smith won Best Original Song for his Bond theme, “Writing On The Wall” — but she arguably gave us the night’s most powerful moment.
Bravo, Gaga — and bravo to all of the survivors — for bringing sexual violence awareness to national TV in a brave and powerful way.