Lady Gaga’s January 20 appearance: politics or performance art?

Amira Turner, Staff Writer

On January 20, 2021, millions of Lady Gaga fans around the world tuned in to see Lady Gaga’s most recent performance. As I turned my attention to CNN, I was shocked by what I saw. Instead of seeing Stephanie Germonotta, dubbed ‘Mother Monster,’ taking the world stage to sing dozens of her hits, I was met with long winded, boring speeches about democracy from Washington DC unknowns.

Lady Gaga has been known for her performance art since the start of her career; from her infamous meat dress to her collaboration with Serbian endurance artist Marina Abramovic, she doesn’t shy away from the abstract. But something about her January stunt felt different. I decided to push my disappointment aside and do some research on what this performance was all about. 

After hours of digging, I identified two of the main speakers as DC politicians Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris. While I had never heard of either of these people, they seemed to be pretty elite figures. The choice to feature two high ranking political officials led me to believe the theme of this performance was about power and diversity—a sharp contrast from her latest dance-pop album, Chromatica, which seems to be more concerned with club hits. 

Gaga herself only took the stage for under four minutes to perform “The Star Spangled Banner,” a lackluster song that I couldn’t find anywhere in her discography. But the highlight of Gaga’s performance was her outfit. Her brooch immediately caught my eye; she wore a gold dove brooch that could easily be compared to the Mockingjay pin featured in The Hunger Games

With all of these facts compiled, I think I’ve pieced together the true meaning of Lady Gaga’s avant garde concert. Lady Gaga’s performance took place at the Capitol, the home of The Hunger Games Panem elites. Paired with her stunning brooch and patriotic song, Gaga is clearly drawing a parallel between the US and Panem. 

Now we are stuck with the final question: why? 

As per tradition during the Hunger Games, competitors get sponsored by different food brands to boost their success in the competition. Lady Gaga recently landed an Oreo Sponsorship, in which they collaborated on a new flavor of “Chromatica Oreos” for her most recent album. There you have it folks: while some may call the events of January 20 an ‘Inauguration,’ I think the case is closed—and an elaborate Oreo promotion is the more apt explanation.