Jemal Countess/Getty Images
Lady Gaga performing on NBC's 'Today' in July.
Lady Gaga performing on NBC's 'Today' in July. Jemal Countess/Getty Images
One of the things that comes up frequently in our editorial meetings is how a group of people can best demonstrate their displeasure with an event or policy to a company or government. It has been an issue throughout the Gulf oil spill, as people call for boycotts of BP gas stations. It's also been an issue since Arizona passed its stringent immigration bill, SB-1070. Some local municipalities have voted to condemn the bill, and groups from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the oldest African American Greek-lettered fraternity, to the National Urban League, have canceled meetings and conferences previously scheduled to be held in the state. Big name musicians and bands — Kanye West, Hall & Oates, Los Lobos and Sonic Youth, to name a handful — have canceled concerts in Arizona. The argument is that money talks, so refusing the state revenue from events held there might push them to reconsider the bill.
It's near-impossible, however, to prove that these sorts of boycotts work. So Lady Gaga took a different tack. At her July 31 show in Phoenix, she took the stage as planned, in spite of pressure to cancel. But Gaga saw a bigger value in appearing. "I will not cancel my show," she told her audience of 14,000+,
I will yell and I will scream louder. And I will hold you, and we will hold each other, and we will peaceably protest this state. Because if it wasn't for all of you immigrants, this country wouldn't have sh*t. And I mean it. I mean it so deeply in my soul.
There's little doubt her fans were listening, and she got the ear — and eyes — of the Internet, as well. But it remains to be seen whether a boycott or vocal opposition speaks louder.