On Monday (August 8), Lady Gaga took a break from her performance at the "Chromatica Ball" concert in Washington, DC, to affirm her continued support for gay marriage and abortion rights.
It follows the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 legal decision that made abortion acceptable on a federal level. On June 24, the historic ruling was formally overturned, allowing US states to decide for themselves whether or not abortions are legal. Since then, legislation preventing people from having safe access to abortion has been proposed in 25 states.
At her sold-out performance of "Edge of Glory" on Monday in front of more than 40,000 spectators at Washington's Nationals Park stadium, Gaga made the following announcement to the crowd: "I would like to dedicate this song to every woman in America." Every woman who is currently concerned about her body if she becomes pregnant, I hope that this nation will speak out, that we will stand as one, and that we won't give up until the situation is right! For all females.
I didn't mean to be, like, a downer, but there's some shit that's more important than show business," Gaga said as she paused to conclude the lengthy, stripped-back performance.
A few songs earlier in the set, Gaga dedicated "Born This Way" – an unequivocal queer anthem – to the LGBTQ+ community. As reported by Variety, she opened the song by declaring: “This might not be the national anthem, but it’s our national anthem! They better not try to mess with gay marriage in this country! "
Same-sex marriage was legalised in the US after the landmark 2015 ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges. However, in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, there have been murmurs—as well as vocal support from right-wing politicians like Ted Cruz—that the Supreme Court will look to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges next.
Gaga joins a wide array of artists and entertainers using their platforms to speak out against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Performing at Glastonbury 2022 at the time that the Supreme Court’s ruling was confirmed, Phoebe Bridgers, Olivia Rodrigo, Jarvis Cocker, Lorde, IDLES, and Billie Eilish all declared their support for abortion rights at the festival.
Janelle Monáe did so live on TV when she presented at this year’s BET Awards, while others who have shared their support on the air include Bridgers, John Oliver, Maya Hawke, Nova Twins, and Arcade Fire. Selena Gomez spoke up about the issue on the red carpet for a show’s premiere, while on social media, artists to speak out include Lily Allen, Sunflower Bean, Jack White, The Chainsmokers, Fiona Apple, Madonna, and Paul Walker’s daughter.
Many artists have also, like Gaga, asserted their support for abortion rights at their own concerts. These include Halsey, Lorde, Green Day, and Rage Against The Machine, while acts like Bridgers, Paramore, Lizzo, and Lorde have all pledged to donate proceeds from tour earnings to charities that provide North Americans with access to safe abortions.
Halsey also held an auction of paintings they created onstage to raise money for abortion funds, while Cyndi Lauper shared a rerecorded version of her 1993 abortion rights anthem, "Sally’s Pigeons." Some high-profile names have even taken to the streets to participate in protests—actor Busy Philipps was arrested at one of those last month.
Lady Gaga’s 'Chromatica Ball’ tour will continue in New York City tomorrow (August 11), with a further nine North American dates (and two in Tokyo) on the itinerary. Find remaining tickets for those shows here.
NME was on-ground at the London stop of the 'Chromatica Ball’ tour, where Nick Levine said in his five-star review that the show “underlines [Gaga’s] unique place in the pop pantheon: the missing link between showstopping ’80s icons like Madonna and Prince, and today’s more open and vulnerable superstars”.
Earlier this month, Gaga and Tony Bennett were added as last-minute Emmy nominees for their work on the 2021 CBS special One Last Time. A day after that was announced, Gaga confirmed she would star opposite Joaquin Phoenix in the forthcoming sequel to Todd Phillips’ 2019 film Joker.