I am aware of how redundant it is to describe Lady Gaga’s choices as “over-the-top,” since everything she does is over the top. In fact, if she hadn’t gone full-Gaga at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards last night, today’s headline might be something like, “Lady Gaga worries humanity by keeping her look subdued and restrained, and only doing one costume change.”
Thankfully that’s not the article I’m writing today. Lady Gaga is still very much Lady Gaga, albeit in her current form, which is her Chromatica era, which is like if the Wachowskis rebooted The Powerpuff Girls. But she’s also become a bit of a COVID-19 warrior. Lady Gaga wants YOU (points finger) to wear a fucking mask, because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Even though MTV didn’t require any of the VMA performers to quarantine for two weeks if they flew in from out of state, Lady Gaga still took this whole performing in a pandemic thing seriously wearing a new mask for all her many costume changes.
Gaga won several awards last night, including Song of the Year, Best Collaboration, and Best Cinematography for “Rain On Me,” Artist of the Year, and the MTV Tricon Award (which replaced the MTV Video Vanguard Award). The Tricon Award means Gaga can pretty much do whatever she wants on stage, which would be why she delivered a nearly 10-minute long medley performance featuring four songs from Chromatica, and featuring an appearance by her “Rain On Me” co-singer Ariana Grande. And the whole time, she was masked up like a sexy e-girl version of Bane from Batman.
Gaga didn’t have to wear a mask while performing, since there was little to no audience present, and all the performances took place on a variety of stages to limit human contact and follow social distancing rules. And some people didn’t wear a mask while performing, like Doja Cat, which is surprising, given her history with COVID-19. But Lady Gaga had a point to make, which is that we’re all in this together, so long as we’re all covering up our virus-spreaders (aka our mouths). She made her mask request at the end of her acceptance speech for the Tricon Award. via ELLE:
“This means a lot to me. It means more to me than you probably even realize. I’ve been making music since I was a little girl, and even though I had really, really big dreams, I truly never could have imagined that someday I would be given an award like this that honored me for so many of my passions.
I want you to know I failed over and over again as an actress and as a musician when I was young, and though I gave back to the local community through service as a young woman in New York, philanthropy became a much bigger part of my life as a star, and I started the Born This Way Foundation with my mother, Cynthia, once my record broke. I want to share this award with everybody at home tonight. Everybody at home, that is their own form of a TriCon. I wish for you to think right now of three things that define who you are, and take a moment to reward yourself for your bravery. This has not been an easy year for a lot of people. But what I see in the world is a massive triumph of courage.
I also hope that people at home that have big dreams, I hope they see me here today accepting this award and hope they know how grateful I am. And I want you to know that you can do this, too. Just ’cause we’re separated right now, and culture might feel less alive in some ways, I know a renaissance is coming. And the wrath of pop culture will inspire you. And the rage of art will empower you as it responds to hardship with its generosity and love. That is what I believe. I want nothing more than to be your artist in 2020. It’s a total privilege. I love you. Stay safe, speak your mind, and I might sound like a broken record, but wear a mask: It’s a sign of respect. Thank you.”
And she continued to bring that “Mask, but make it FASHION” energy to her acceptance speech for Artist of the Year as well. This time, looking like a disco ball trying not to catch a raging case of Saturday Night Fever.
"Everyone always knew if they were hanging out with me that I was on a mission to spread joy through culture, through dance, through music." Congrats to @LadyGaga 💗 #GirlPower @SeeHer2020 #SeeHerHearHer #VMAs pic.twitter.com/RV6CI1n2MF
— MTV (@MTV) August 31, 2020
When accepting the award for Song of the Year, she came out in a mask accessorized with tusks:
— Video Music Awards (@vmas) August 31, 2020
I know what I said above about Lady Gaga shocking the world by ever doing something underwhelming, but I’m afraid to say I am maybe a bit underwhelmed by her mask choices! Like, they’re literally just masks with decorations. I know she’s taking COVID-19 seriously, but it would have been nice to see a little signature Gaga camp injected into her look. The old Lady Gaga would have arrived inside a 6-foot tall bottle of hand sanitizer (suspended in the liquid), and performed at least one number dressed like the giant cotton swab they stick up your nose during a COVID test.