There has been a lot of controversy regarding the #OscarsSoWhite and the lack of diversity amongst the academy’s nominees. While I think there is much to be said about Hollywood and its diversity problem, there are two names that I think should be on everyone’s minds on this day after the Oscars: “Spotlight” and Lady Gaga.
Earlier this year, Lady Gaga released a powerful song and music video titled “Til it Happens to You.” For the singer, it marked yet another diversion from the typical pop world which is now often littered with dance-y beats and lyrics that really aren’t all that coherent. As a survivor of sexual assault, Lady Gaga utilized her extremely powerful voice, literally and figuratively, to share a message about abuse while showing an example of a thriving survivor. She has also recently been vocal in her support of fellow pop star Kesha, who has been fighting a court case for years now with her record label which is related to her allegations that a record producer sexually assaulted her. There has been a lot of controversy over the statements that she has made, especially in her deposition years ago. And with recent allegations against Bill Cosby resurfacing, Hollywood has had a lot to deal with relating to sexual assault.
At the Academy Awards on February 28, 2016 Lady Gaga performed her song “Til it Happens to You” which was nominated for Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song). You can view her performance below:
“Spotlight”, which is a powerful film about a talented group of brash journalists investigating sexual abuse in the Catholic church in Boston, is based on a true story. This film took home the biggest trophy of the night for Best motion picture of the year. With this film winning best picture, it’s clear to me that the voting Academy chose to send a very clear message about sexual abuse which is so incredibly important in this day in age. Paired with the visibility of a survivor like Lady Gaga, the combination of “Spotlight” and the singer is a powerful punch against abuse and a very clear message to survivors of sexual abuse, “We believe you. You matter.”
I had the opportunity to see the film “Spotlight” several weeks ago and I had no idea at the time that it was up for best picture. After seeing the film, the win is much deserved. The cast is an incredible collection of acting talent and despite all the failures of the criminal justice system to hold abusers responsible, I think this film serves as a very real reminder to the many men, women, boys and girls who have survived abuse that there are people invested in their stories. People care and this is an issue that we must continue to speak about openly if we are to enact real change in not only the healing for survivors but also holding abusers accountable for their actions. The spotlight is on and I hope we never look back into the darkness of ignorance again.