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Lady Gaga protests SB1070 in Arizona
by Emmanuel Garcia
2010-09-01

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If you had 10 minutes with Lady Gaga what would you say? Victor Medina and Amelec Diaz had that opportunity July 31 when Lady Gaga performed at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz., as part of her Monster Ball tour.

Both gay activists, working around immigration rights, wrote a petition asking Lady Gaga to join artists like Rage Against the Machine and Kanye West in honoring a boycott that's in place due to the controversial immigration law SB1070.

However, Gaga did not cancel her show; instead, her management invited both men to a meet-and-greet with the singer.

They met Gaga backstage while she was getting her hair done. She invited them to sit in a meeting that Medina said lasted 20 minutes. In that meeting Diaz shared his personal story about his house being raided and his brother being deported over a traffic violation. The young men said the meeting was emotional, describing the singer as "very nice, open and expressive." Medina said that prior to their meeting, Gaga said that she was not aware of the immigration law and asked that they scribble SB1070 on her arm so she could remember.

It was that moment that led Gaga to address her audience during her show. She told the crowd of more than 20,000 fans that she received calls from artists personally asking her to cancel the show, but said, she would not cancel, explaining, "And I said, you really think that us dumb fucking pop stars are going to collapse the economy of Arizona? We have to actively protest and the nature of the Monster Ball is to actively protest prejudice and injustice."

Medina agreed, saying that while they originally called for her to boycott, the concert defied the embargo: "It drew a lot of the LGBT community together, we know what oppression is like. It's important that we got to her because she's such a big icon. What she did in a matter of minutes would have taken us months."

"I will yell and I will scream louder, I will hold you and we will hold each other and we will peaceably protest this state," Gaga yelled. "If it wasn't for all of you immigrants this country wouldn't have shit."

The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, also known as Arizona SB 1070, created controversy in Arizona by allowing police to question anyone they perceived to be "illegal." Gov. Jan Brewer signed the Act into law April 23, sending human-rights activists to protest and call for a boycott of the state. Last week, on the eve of the law going into effect, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked the most controversial parts of the statute due to a pending lawsuit by the United States Department of Justice, which has stated that it interferes with federal immigration regulations.

This is at least the second time Gaga has publicly spoken out on a political issue. While she often addresses her gay fans in concerts, interviews and videos, she received praise for her participation at the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., last October.


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