By: China Magno - Larry King Now
At last night's Academy Awards, Lady Gaga was introduced by the "least qualified person" at the event, or at least that's what Vice President Joe Biden called himself when he received a standing ovation. While he may feel like the least qualified person to make an appearance at Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, Biden couldn’t have been a better choice. The vice president presented Lady Gaga who performed a moving rendition of 'Til It Happens to You’ from 'The Hunting Ground,' a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses.
Before introducing the singer, Vice President Biden spoke in support of the White House’s campaign to prevent campus sexual assault, 'It’s On Us.'
The author of the Violence Against Women Act urged the audience to “take the pledge. A pledge that says, 'I will intervene in situations where consent cannot or has not been given.’ Let’s change the culture. We must and we can change the culture, so that no abused woman or man, ever has to ask themselves 'what did I do?' They did nothing wrong.”
At the end of the emotional performance, Gaga was joined by a group of college-aged male and female survivors to stand in solidarity, who each had words and phrases like “Not Your Fault,” “It Happened to Me,” and “Survivor” written on their arms.
'Til it Happens to You' was nominated for best original song and was co-written by Diane Warren, an eight-time Oscar nominee. “Tonight’s performance is about giving a voice to the many victims of sexual assault and their families around the world,” said Warren. “We are honored to represent so many survivors and hope ‘Til It Happens To You’ empowers those watching to get involved and become part of a solution.”
The message behind the song was beautifully captured by the performance and having Joe Biden introduce it couldn't have been more appropriate. Lady Gaga– an assault survivor herself– received an emotional standing ovation and the sexual assault survivors walked offstage and were greeted with hugs from Brie Larson.
The much needed discourse on sexual assault was also highlighted in other ways in Hollywood this year. The motion picture 'Room'– which nabbed the lead actress Oscar for Brie Larson– was centered around her character, a sexual assault survivor, who was kidnapped and held in captivity in a backyard shed for seven years. Another feature film, 'Spotlight'– which focused on molestation committed by priests in the catholic church– took home the award for best picture.
In light of her ongoing battle with Sony Music Entertainment, Kesha tweeted her gratitude to Gaga and Vice President Biden "for bringing attention to sexual assault at the Oscars." The pop star, who was recently denied an injunction allowing her to make an album outside of Sony, also tweeted that "it hit very close to my heart for obvious reasons." Before going onstage, Gaga tweeted: "@kesharose I'll be thinking of u 2nite. This is not over we'll stand by u until you are free to live a HAPPY life. Everyone deserves that." Kesha has been receiving support from other artists as well like Miley Cyrus, Sky Ferreira, and Lorde, who like Gaga, took their support to their social media accounts and voiced their outrage regarding the situation.
These stories along with last night's performance illustrate the impact and efficiency of using social media platforms to heighten attention on issues such as sexual violence. Last night was a powerful moment that made the oscars a cultural flashpoint for the rest of the world.
Back in October, Amber Rose stopped by our show to discuss issues like sexual violence, ‘slut shaming’ and feminism. Filling in for Larry, Rose hosted a guest panel discussion and was joined by 'Orange is the New Black' and 'How to Get Away with Murder' star Matt McGorry, and singer Frenchie Davis. Check out the episode below!
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.