Halftime show teems with political ideas
Remarkable, yet inconspicuously political would be a fine way to describe Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl Halftime performance. Lady Gaga sang excerpts of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” and parts of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” the latter of which has political undertones that addresses a nation currently divided by a commander in chief who wishes to ban Muslims and all other non-white immigrants from entering the United States.
In its own right, Lady Gaga’s “No matter gay, straight or bi, / lesbian, transgendered life” verse, during the performance of her smash hit “Born This Way,” was very much a political statement and an act of defiance to the new administration.
Her usage of subtle political imagery was effective. However, it would have been more awe-inspiring to see Lady Gaga perform that powerful verse while representing various identities on an equally powerful background.
One must take into account the backlash that the NFL received last year for Beyonce’s Black Panther inspired halftime performance. The simple fact is that it is merely a Super Bowl Halftime Show, not a campaign rally, a gay pride event or the women’s march.
The halftime show is not meant to be a partisan occurrence. Few people tune into the halftime show because of performers’ political speeches. Those who do tune in and witness political speeches may then feel inclined to change the channel—the Super Bowl Halftime show is meant to entertain.
The Super Bowl Halftime show is supposed to, like Lady Gaga herself stated, “make you feel good.”
However, Lady Gaga has a long history of activism behind her. She is well-known for speaking at the 2009 National Equality March in Washington D.C. She consistently voices a strong stance for LGBT rights through her music.
However, the Super Bowl is a televised event that boasts a huge viewership worldwide. Over 100 million viewers watched the 2017 Super Bowl, a viewership that reached its peak during Lady Gaga’s performance.
It would be an unwise business move for the NFL to schedule performers who intend to make bold political statements. Performers who make bold political statements may turn away a significant portion of viewers since not all viewers oppose President Donald Trump.
One cannot have a long history of championing LGBT rights and then be provided one of the biggest platforms in the world and avoid speaking out about injustices. This is where her music comes in. Although she did not speak out verbally against pressing issues, she gave a performance that relied on powerful lyrics to convey a message of unity.