I figured that because this man's anti-Gaga articles have been posted here on ONTD as well as other pop culture blogs, it'd be okay to post this here as well.
As some of you may or may not know, Jemeul DaSilva is a notorious Gaga hater who has posted negative article after negative article on Examiner.com, some of which ended up on ATRL and even PerezHilton.com. Well, earlier last week, Gaga's dear friend, BREEDLOVE, decided to invite Mr. DaSilva to attend the Born Brave Bus in California after he posted several articles claiming that the bus itself was nothing more than a publicity stunt.
A lot of people on ONTD ignorantly criticized Gaga for doing this bus thing, so it's great to have an unbiased opinion on the experience.
DaSilva and BREEDLOVE
This afternoon, I was given a tour of Lady Gaga's tailgate party by her good friend and frequent collaborator Breedlove. It was a fun experience and completely different than what I expected.
I wasn't very excited about going today; however, I thought it would only by fair since some of my articles criticized it. I always thought that if I criticize something, I should experience it. If I am proven right, I'll say so. If I am proven wrong, I'll admit it.
I envisioned a huge bus in a parking lot with people doing all types of drugs. My mind saw pictures of Lady Gaga all over the bus and surrounding areas with the letters "Queen of Pop." I pictured fans burning posters of Madonna, Adele, Britney Spears, Barbara Walters, Sharon Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne, and a lot of other stars who (some) of Mother Monster's fans are threatened by.
I pictured all types of misfits worshipping at some Lady Gaga alter with Terry Richardson manipulating them into saying how much Lady Gaga saved their lives, saved the world, is the ambassador for gay rights, etc. My mind can really be creative.
However, what I saw was much different than I expected. It wasn't so much about Lady Gaga as it was the fans. It also wasn't a "Therapy" party where rent-a-psychiatrists try to cure problems within five minutes. It was more of a tailgate party that celebrated uniqueness. It wasn't just a bus; it was a whole area with tents and other things. The bus was only part of it.
If someone desperately needed therapy, there were resources and referrals. It was anything but a mental hospital atmosphere. There were representatives from colleges and other organizations that were there to guide people and make them feel comfortable.
My favorite area of the event was the back of the bus which was colorful, smelled like incense, and showed videos of different people who have overcome difficulties. It wasn't just about gays and lesbians, although I bet only 10 percent of the people at the event were straight.
My biggest complaint about Lady Gaga has always been that she plays the victim way too much. Instead of saying "So what!" to her critics, she writes crazy letters, releases press statements, etc. However, I did like how she responded to the recent bra gun controversy; she didn't respond at all. But the Born Brave party is all about empowerment and uniqueness. There are interactive games, maps, and other things that are designed to help empower feelings.
Many of the older generation of Gay men resent Lady Gaga. Some of their complaints are legit, but being on her bus made me realize one reason why many older gay men harbor ill feelings towards Lady Gaga; we weren't allowed to come together the way her fans are today. We didn't have our Born Brave Bus. We didn't have anybody telling us that it is okay to be who we are. This was a theme of much of my discussion with Breedlove and Lady Starlight.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, we had Madonna at the peak of her career and the peak of the influence of the religious right. She was an amazing force, through her music and videos, in changing attitudes towards the LGBT community. She fought the Catholic Church, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and everyone else who wished Gay people would just die.
DaSilva and Lady Starlight
However, many of us attended the Blonde Ambition Tour as closeted teenagers who feared what would happen if our parents and friends found out about our sexuality. Many of us thought of committing suicide. Madonna, who was the only big star to accept us at the time, was our escape. But we didn't have a Born Brave Bus. It's not Madonna's fault; this wasn't possible at a time when gay people were hated more than the Taliban.
Today, LGBT teenagers and young adults have many resources. They can live happy lives. They can get married. They can raise children. They can watch gay-friendly television shows. They can look up to a gay-friendly pop star who performs at major political events. It would have been amazing to have all that support as a teenager. For a second, I was envious of Lady Gaga's fans on the bus. But then, I felt good for them. Instead of feeling envious, Breedlove and Lady Starlight are taking the positive route by giving back to the community and Lady Gaga's fans.
Speaking of Lady Gaga's fans, I have normally though of them as the most vile creatures on the planet. Of course, this opinion comes from arguing with them over the Internet. But the real world is different from the Internet. The fans I met in person were nice, educated, and radiated too much positivity in order to go back home and threaten the lives of Lady Gaga's supposed enemies. Lady Gaga, just like any artist, has her vile fans. However, the lesson learned through this experience is that you can't judge a complete group of people by a minority that uses the Internet.
I really wanted to go to the Born This Way Ball concert tonight. I might have disliked it, but today's experience felt incomplete without seeing the concert. Unfortunately, I had to drop something off in Manhattan Beach, where I am writing this article.
On a (sort of) funny note, I found out that the complaint about unwanted tickets being given away on the bus was based on something that actually happened. Little Monsters even accused me of making up the story and creating a fake Twitter account to spread the complaint.
However, the situation has been blown completely out of proportion as the bus was not being used as a ticket giveaway center, there was no abuse, and that the intentions in that incident were nothing but good. Remember -- you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.
Wow, I wish all of Gaga's haters were this rational.