(note: I don’t know how long the video will stay on YouTube, but the video was from Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2013 iTunes Festival. She shared about some very difficult situations she went through, about how she had used her costumes & wigs as a way to hide who she was, and in a sense, gives the audience a full confession. I should say that depending on where you work, this may not QUITE be safe for work – it is Lady Gaga and some of her costumes are…well, there isn’t a lot to them.)
If you have some time, watch the above clip from Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2013 iTunes Festival. Watch from the 38 min marker until around 45 minutes (when she starts performing “Swine”).
I’ve always been a fan of Lady Gaga’s music, found a lot of religious and spiritual connections in her lyrics, and have used some of her stuff with youth groups before. In fact, a good friend of mine, John Vest (who is a youth pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church here in Chicago) actually had a group of youth who put together a Lady Gaga worship event called Electric Chapel.
Of course, Lady Gaga has always been known for the provocative costumes she wears during performances and in public, and for pushing the envelope in a number of ways. What I found interesting about her performance at the iTunes Festival, was that she did all of her costume + makeup changes in front of everyone, for all to see. It was like lifting the curtain into the “Holy of Holies” of the entertainment world. And it was a little awkward, long gaps between songs, as we waited for the changes to happen. But it allowed people to get a chance to really see Lady Gaga (she even pointed out that the hair in the photo below is her actual hair).
And then, around that 38 minute mark, she entered into what seemed to be a deep confession for her. She took off her wigs and talked about how she had often used her intense costuming and wigs as a way to hide her true self, a self that she clearly felt a lot of shame about because of some pretty traumatic stuff that happened to her.
I loved hearing someone who obviously millions of young people adore and look up to and idolize become so transparent and real. It was an acknowledgement of the broken and messy world that we live in, about accepting oneself, and not living with shame and disgust for oneself, and shared at least one way of moving forward.
I think that we, as youth ministers, would also have thoughts and ideas about ways to move forward, for people who are struggling with who they are and with decisions they have made. I can definitely see showing this video as a conversation starter at youth group (though I’m not sure how to get around some of the sexually explicit language she used. It’s not like the kids haven’t heard it, but…).
How could you see using a clip like this with your youth?