The ‘Shallows’ singer compared racism in the US to an oppressive forest that needs to be uprooted and admitted she believes the younger generation are the ones to instigate important changes, though they may take some time to come to fruition.
Speaking as part of YouTube’s ‘Dear Class of 2020’ event, she said: You are watching what is a pivotal moment in this country’s evolution. You are watching society change in a deeply important way.
This change will be slow, and we will have to be patient. But change will happen and it will be for the better…
“I think about a broad forest filled densely with tall trees. Trees as old as this country itself. Trees that were planted with racist seeds. Trees that grew prejudice branches and oppressive leaves and mangled roots that buried and entrenched themselves deep within the soil, forming a web so well developed and so entangled that push back when we try to look clearly at how it really works.
“This forest is where we live, it’s who we are. It’s the moral and value system that we as a society have upheld and emboldened for centuries. I make this analogue between racism and nature in this country because it’s as pervasive and real as nature. It is some part of everything the light touches.”
Gaga hailed the graduating students as the “seeds of the future” who can create a “far more beautiful and loving” forest.
She continued: “But in this moment, all of us are being invited to challenge that system and think about how to affect real change.
“I believe in my heart that the people who are going to make this change happen are listening to me speak right now. I know this is true because it’s you who are the seeds of the future.
“You are the seeds that will grow into a new and different forest that is far more beautiful and loving than the one we live in today.
“[You have been] presented with a wonderful gift: The opportunity to reflect in this powerful moment on your morals, your principles and your values and how they will guide you through life as it presents itself and as you wonder where it will take you.”
The 34-year-old singer things time, sufficient effort and divine grace are needed to eradicate racism.
She said: “We can control time and sufficient effort. We can’t control divine grace, but I believe divine grace is the faith we can choose to place in each other, to prosper lovingly and effectively.”
Gaga had originally recorded a different speech two weeks ago before George Floyd’s death at the hands of police lead to massive demonstrations across the world, so decided to record something new to reflect the current state of society.
The ‘Poker Face’ hitmaker explained that, in her original speech, she asked, “What would it take to be kind all the time?”
She added: “Perhaps this question is still relevant today. People can do hard things. You can do hard things. You can rip up and replant the forest to be a vision only you have.
“Sometimes being kind is hard. I’m sure you can think of a few unkind classmates, friends, family members, strangers, people, teachers from your school or even times that you’ve acted unkindly.
“So since being kind can mean doing a hard thing, sometimes even in the absence of kindness, people can still do the hard thing and be kind. I encourage you to be kind.
“Congratulations to the class of 2020. I can’t wait to see your forest.”