It was a busy day in the City of West Hollywood today. The city unveiled a Born This Way Street-Lane art installation on N. Robertson Boulevard in front of the Abbey Food & Bar. The rainbow street mural is a celebration of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and 10-year anniversary of the album by the same name. The city also celebrated the 30-year anniversary of The Abbey, which first opened as a coffee shop in West Hollywood on May 22, 1991.
Lady Gaga surprised the City of West Hollywood with her in-person appearance, which according to sources was several months in the making. She was visibly moved when she walked down the newly installed Born This Way Street Lane. Fans rushed the superstar to take photos, drawing a crowd. She was presented with keys to the city inside the Abbey.
The Grammy and Oscar Award-winning superstar and pop icon, is also well known as a supporter and ally of the LGBTQ community. Ten years ago, on May 23, 2011, the “Born This Way” album was released and its lead single became an LGBTQ anthem. The song has encouraged people of all sexual orientations, genders, ages, and races to accept themselves and others, and to embrace differences, reject prejudices, and feel empowered.
“Through her music and activism, Lady Gaga has become a cultural icon for our generation,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath. “The anthem ‘Born This Way’ has become an out-and-proud declarative stance for countless LGBTQ people. The Born This Way Foundation fosters honest conversations about mental health with young people and seeks to eradicate the stigma around mental health struggles. I’m overjoyed to declare today ‘Born This Way Day’ and, on behalf of the entire City Council, give a Key to the City to Lady Gaga as we launch Pride this year in West Hollywood!”
“I’m really the lucky one that’s here today,” Lady Gaga said from a podium. Born This Way was inspired by a man named Carl Bean. A black gay religious man. A beautiful person who proclaimed who he was and was so strong and inspired me to make this song, to make this record. I’m looking at all of you and I would just like to congratulate you on a lifetime of relentless love and pride. Thank you so much for showing me what it means to be brave. What it means to persevere and really what it means to lead the world. I used to feel like a follower when I was a kid. Then I started to feel like a leader and I can promise you that all of you are leaders who are standing here today. Thank you for this key. You’ve been–I’m sure this will sound cheesy to some people, but not to me–you’ve been the mother fucking key to my heart for a long time. I’ll honor this and I’ll cherish this and I promise that I will always be here for this day.”
In 2012, Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, founded the Born This Way Foundation, which supports the mental health of young people and works with them to create a kinder and braver world. The Born This Way Foundation develops innovative programming and partnerships to model, convene, and support healthy conversations about mental wellness, to connect youth with resources and services that support their mental health – online and offline, and to encourage and build communities that understand and prioritize mental and emotional wellness.
To embody the spirit of the Born This Way message, a temporary “Born This Way” street-lane installation has been unveiled on N. Robertson Boulevard, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard. The letters spell-out Born This Way and the design incorporates a pattern of colorful symbols representing LGBTQ Pride and the array of diverse LGBTQ communities. The installation is anticipated to remain on display through the end of June in recognition of Pride month.