Why Lady Gaga Identifies as a ‘Kindness Punk’

Lady Gaga does it all: musician, actress, entrepreneur, artist, advocate, kindness punk. In the midst of all of her creative endeavors, Gaga has always paid special mind to her calling to make a positive impact on the world. She feels it’s part of her job to make people feel loved and comfortable in who they ware.

Lady Gaga | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AT&T
Lady Gaga | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for AT&T

She does this, especially, with the Born This Way Foundation, an organization that’s all about “empowering youth, inspiring bravery,” according to the website. But, in a way, all of her projects empower youth and inspire bravery, like her music and even her new makeup line, Haus Laboratories.

Lady Gaga the kindness punk

“I think as my career has grown and changed and I’ve done different things, I’ve become very mindful of my position in the world and my responsibility to humanity and to those who follow me. And I consider myself to be a kindness punk. I look back at everything I’ve done, and I look at what I’m doing now, and punks, you know, have a sort of reputation for being rebellious, right?” the artist told Oprah Winfrey back in November.

She continued: “So for me, I really view my career, and even what I’m doing now, as a rebellion against all the things in the world that I see to be unkind. Kindness heals the world. Kindness heals people. It’s what brings us together—it’s what keeps us healthy.”

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Gaga says she learned to be kind from her mother.

“I learned from my mom, Oprah. When I would come home from school, if I was bullied, she would always say, ‘Kill them with kindness.’ And maybe ‘kill them’ is an aggressive way of saying it, but, you know, she meant it in the kindest of ways. What she meant was, ‘Don’t fight fire with fire; fight fire with water,'” she shared.

Lady Gaga wants her fans (and everybody) to feel seen and understood

Gaga was initially so inspired to destigmatize mental health issues and take a stand against bullying because of her relationship with her fans.

“Looking out into the audience and seeing so many people who were like me, people who felt different, who didn’t feel seen or understood. And then also seeing a lot of kids who felt afraid to be open about who they were, it became sort of an existential experience for me, where I thought about what it means to be an individual—I wanted to fight for those individuals,” she said.

“I recognized very early on that my impact was to help liberate people through kindness. I mean, I think it’s the most powerful thing in the world, particularly in the space of mental illness,” she continued.

But that doesn’t mean Gaga wants all of her fans to “be brave” before they feel ready. She just wants them to feel loved and recognized no matter where they are.

“It’s very easy to say to someone, ‘Be brave,’ but it’s not so easy to practice. I mean, if you feel shame for who you are, and you don’t feel supported by people around you, you’re afraid. Shame is powerful. But give yourself time. Allow yourself to take little bites every day. That’s what I would say: Take little bites of bravery. I wouldn’t say it’s a false life. I would say that’s a reality, and that reality can change,” she said.

Read more: Lady Gaga is Setting up Mental Health First Aid Training Programs for High Schoolers