Lady Gaga isn’t just a mutli-platinum superstar – she’s also an activist.
The “Born This Way” singer was presented with the LennonOno Grant for Peace – an award established by Yoko Ono in honor of her late husband, former Beatle John Lennon – by Ono herself at a ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland on Tuesday.
Rewarded for her activism on a variety of social issues, the honor also came with a monetary prize, which Gaga told the crowd she would be donating to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“I dare you to be compassionate in a cynical age,” said Gaga in a lengthy acceptance speech, during which she also showed off a small peace-sign tattoo on her wrist that was inspired by Lennon’s memory.
“When I turned 19, I got this tattoo to remind me that if I were ever to gain the attention of the critical mass, even in an exponentially smaller way than John had, that I would commit myself to breeding compassion through my voice,” she said. “Today before Yoko…I’m going to choose this moment to honor the commitment I made to peace when I was 14.”
Along with Gaga, this year’s LennonOno winners include Russian punk band Pussy Riot (three members of which were recently sentenced to two years in prison on charges of “hooliganism”), American peace activist Rachel Corrie, killed during a 2003 protest on the Gaza Strip, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” author and activist John Perkins, and Christopher Hitchens, the late journalist and author who died of oesophageal cancer last December.
Watch Gaga’s full speech below and let us know what you think.