Lady Gaga received the LennonOno Grant For Peace award from Yoko Ono at a ceremony in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik on Tuesday.
Lady Gaga was awarded the prize together with Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot whose members have been jailed over an anti-Kremlin protest.
Peace activist Yoko Ono said in a statement the biennial peace grant, established in the name of her late husband, former Beatle John Lennon, rewarded Lady Gaga for combining her stardom with activism and changing “the mental map” of the world.
The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter who shot to fame with her debut album “The Fame” in 2008 accepted the award in person in Reykjavik. She said she would give her charitable donation to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“I’m supremely honoured to accept this grant and award today on behalf of youth empowerment around the world. I will be donating this grant to the Elton John Aids foundation and I will be working closely with them to ensure that the money goes specifically to those orphans and disadvantage youth in America born with HIV or AIDS,” she said.
Her message was for the world to “breathe compassion.”
“We share the same dreams of peace, the same planet. We share the same potential to succeed, so my gift to you is this message, John and Yoko taught me long ago to keep it simple so everyone can understand, so world, breathe compassion,” she said.
Lady Gaga said she was grateful to Yoko Ono for giving her this award.
“I appreciate very much that Yoko has lent context to the popular work that I do that means more to me than anything,” she said, adding: “Again it is Yoko’s activism through giving me this award that she is giving context to somebody that has the attention of the critical mass. She is saying this is a credible activist, somebody that is doing a great thing, so what she is doing is she’s actually being an activist herself in this moment, not I.”
“My popularity is of no interest to me, what people think of me or my work in terms of what I am as a musician is entirely separate from my mission as a human being which is to be endlessly and devotedly compassionate in every scenario that I can be, and that is a risk that I am willing to lose it all for,” Lady Gaga said in response toYoko Ono saying she thought Lady Gaga brave for risking her stardom for her activism.
Last month, Yoko Ono awarded the prize to the members of Pussy Riot – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – at a separate event in New York City.
Tolokonnikova’s husband accepted the grant on behalf of the three women, who were handed a two-year sentence for staging a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral.
This year’s winners of the prize also included peace activist Rachel Corrie, killed on the Gaza strip in 2003, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” author John Perkins and the late journalist Christopher Hitchens.