I'm not personally interested in award shows beyond their failure to recognize people of color, but apparently this year's Oscars was quite the show.
I've heard, er, mixed reviews about Chris Rock's comments during his hosting of the show, but what I didn't hear about until today was the fact that Lady Gaga's performance was dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault and promoting awareness of the issue and a program dedicated to changing the conversation around sexual assault.
Lady Gaga's emotional performance of "Till It Happens To You" at the Oscars hit a high note near the end, when a group of 50 sexual assault survivors walked on stage and stood defiantly as the cameras zoomed in to show they had messages written on their arms, including "Not Your Fault" and "It Happened To Me."
I've heard mixed reviews of Lady Gaga herself in terms of racism, but the fact that this was an approved part of the Oscars surprised me. I feel like I really needed to see something like this to affirm that what I and so many other feminist do is having an impact and that things might actually be getting better.
And apparently Joe Biden was there?
Vice President Joe Biden appeared on stage Sunday to introduce Lady Gaga and ask people to take the "It's On Us" pledge to end sexual assault and intervene in potentially dangerous situations.
"I'm asking you to join millions of Americans, including me, President Obama, the thousands of students I've met on college campuses, and the artists I've met here tonight to take the pledge," Biden said, "A pledge that says, 'I will intervene in situations when consent has not or cannot be given.' Let's change the culture. We must change the culture, so that no abused women or man, like the survivors you will see tonight, ever feel they have to ask themselves, 'What did I do?' They did nothing wrong."
Well said, Joe. This is exactly what's needed. Direct bystander intervention is one of the keys to dismantling rape culture.
And the group of sexual assault survivors brought onto the stage was apparently quite diverse, with women, men, and non-binary persons from a variety of different races and cultures. Huffington Post has a list of each participant with a little background on each.