Lady Gaga is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, but even she is prone to Internet hate.
“I read things, and I think, ‘My God, can you believe what other people are saying?'” Gaga, 31, says of the trolls that have popped up in her social media feed. “It’s important to me to see, yes, there is a volume of people that can be negative on the Internet that I see on my timeline. But the truth is, I never have to meet any of those people.”
Epiphanies like this have informed the “John Wayne” singer’s latest philanthropic endeavor. This summer, Gaga — who runs the Born This Way Foundation with her mom, Cynthia Germanotta — has teamed up with Staples for Students, which is donating $1 million each to the BTW Foundation and DonorsChoose.org, to promote positivity in school.
“We’re in a very negative time with everything that happens on social media and on the internet and text messaging — all these things that these kids are having to deal with growing up,” says the Grammy winner, who will promote the kindness campaign on her Joanne World Tour this summer. “Imagine how those kids must feel that are in high school or grade school or even younger, and they are getting these messages that are upsetting that make them feel unsafe in school — to have their minds filled up with something other than what they’re studying, which is what they should be focused on.”
Earlier this month, Gaga met with students at Walter Reed Middle School in Hollywood, where she filmed the campaign video and discussed the kids’ everyday classroom challenges.
Adds the singer: “We have to acknowledge that that isn’t just the way it is; that it’s different than the way it used to be, and that we are responsible: We are the adults, and we are responsible for changing that.”
Since she rose to fame, the singer has been a fierce LGTBQ advocate and with her mother has championed equality and acceptance via their foundation.
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“Pride Month, in terms of what the Born This Way Foundation is doing with Staples for Students, is all about inspiring everyone to embrace equality and to remind people that it’s important to love each other and to have both those who don’t feel hopeful about equality and don’t feel hopeful about being embraced by the world. It’s about making those people feel brave and courageous and being brave for them,” she says. “So this is an important time, on all fronts. And this starts in the classroom, it really does.”