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Lady Gaga's 'Judas,' Anything But a Religious Statement?

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    (Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)
    Lady Gaga arrives at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, September 12, 2010.
By Eryn Sun, Christian Post Reporter
May 7, 2011|9:58 am

Will pop sensation Lady Gaga be stoned for her latest “Judas” music video? Not before she stones herself, she says.

In an exclusive interview released yesterday on E! Online, Gaga addressed all the controversy surrounding her music, especially in regards to her upcoming album Born This Way,” which has garnered much criticism for its proposed religious innuendos.

Through an early morning leak on Thursday, fans worldwide were able to watch the much-anticipated “Judas” video, which the artist described as a “pop art fantasy Fellini motorcycle film,” online and hours earlier than expected.

Gaga decided to release the full video after the leak though it was set to broadcast uncut late Thursday on E! Online.

The clip begins with the 12 disciples, like you’ve never seen them before – cruising down the highway on motorcycles clad in distressed leather jackets, personalized with each of their names.

Seen riding behind “Jesus” is none other than Mary Magdalene, whom Gaga takes on the role of, with a scruffy Judas not far behind.

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And the imagery continues to evolve in a fashion only the superstar herself, and her co-director Laurieann Gibson, could ever conceive: bar fights, lipstick guns, bathtub foot washings, and bras and nylons a plenty.

The video surprisingly ends with Mary Magdalene being stoned to death by the public. “I figured, if I’m going to get stoned for making this video, I’ll stone myself first.”

But Gaga wants to make it clear that “the video really is just a metaphor” and not a “biblical lesson.”

“In my opinion, the only controversial thing about this video is I’m wearing Christian Lacroix and Chanel in the same frame.”

Contrary to what many believe, the song is more about ex-boyfriends, betrayal and forgiveness than biblical reproofs, she avows.

“I try to write from a really honest place when I write pop music and carry the song into a more deep and more symbolic visual,” she told Giuliana Rancic. “That’s really what the video is, it’s a metaphor for forgiveness and betrayal and darkness being one of the challenges in life as opposed to being a mistake.”

Explaining further her vision for the single, Gaga believed the biblical Judas wasn’t really a bad character at all, but someone misunderstood by the world and a part of an overarching prophecy. In this particular way, the singer related to Judas and knew many others, including her fans, who shared the same sentiments.

“I feel the symbolism behind Judas and the metaphor is actually beckoning for you to lean forward, and say, ‘Okay, what is this she’s really trying to say, what is this really about,’ and I think it liberates the word [Judas] in a lot of ways.”

It takes the negative into the positive, she asserted.

“I don’t really view the video as a religious statement. I view it as a social statement. I view it as a cultural statement.”

Repeating and reiterating throughout the length of the interview, “the video really is just a metaphor” and “not meant to be an attack on religion,” Gaga specified that she respected and loved everyone’s beliefs. “My fans know that about me.”

Gibson, the creative director, also revealed in The Hollywood Reporter (THR), “We don’t touch on things that we have no right touching upon, but the inspiration and the soul and idea that out of your oppression, your darkness, your Judas, you can come into the marvelous light.”

“So it’s about the inspiration and to never give up... We’ve created a new Jerusalem.”

A believer in the Gospel message herself, she told THR, that the video went through several changes and late-night debates. “At one point, there were two completely different views and I was like, ‘Listen, I don’t want lightning to strike me! I believe in the Gospel and I’m not going there.’”

“It was amazing to have that conversation about salvation, peace and the search for the truth in a room of non-believers and believers,” Gibson mentioned. “To me, that was saying God is active in a big way.”

Like Gaga, who felt her song “Judas” was God-sent, the famous choreographer stated, “I do believe God inspired and worked on everyone’s hearts.”

Though the 25-year-old headliner made plain efforts to emphasize the material had no religious significance, it seemed both she and her “sister” Gibson, were seesawing between the secular and religious connotations themselves.

Author David W. Stowe posited in The New York Times, “Interestingly, it’s Lady Gaga who offers a throwback to the less-segregated pop of the past... While the song is unlikely to herald an end to the religious/secular rift in pop music, maybe it takes someone as genre-bending as Lady Gaga to bring mainstream pop and Christianity back together.”

In fact, several concert attendees testified that the pop artist spent much time talking about Jesus throughout her show, and not in a “blasphemous way.” Her message was simple: It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do...Jesus loves you.

Critics still are wary of her doctrine and are careful to distinguish between the creed of the Bible – Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life – and her own beliefs, which many believe are dangerously over focused on the self.

Even the main idea behind “Born This Way,” another controversial song on the album, is that “you can be reborn over and over again, as many times as you like in your life, until you feel that you have found the person you can love the most in yourself.”

Nonetheless, Gaga is not out to teach anyone anything, she declared. “I don’t think my fans are stupid. They’re so smart, my fans, which is why I make the videos that I make because I know they understand the imagery.”

“It always means something to me when I can see that the music has affected their life in a positive way. That’s the greatest gift they could give me, is when I see that they’re loving themselves.”

She desired to be a good influence to her fans and “more importantly, reverse pop icon.

“Don’t idolize me, idolize yourself,” the pop singer advised – to the probable angst of many believers.

Whatever message she is spreading, it appears Gaga isn’t through with all the controversy just yet. “I just want to keep pushing forward and making things that are great and thought-provoking.”

Her release of the complete album on May 23rd is sure to draw some flames, with songs like “Black Jesus, Amen Fashion,” which is based on her move to downtown at nineteen.

“It’s like me saying iconic imagery my whole life taught me to look at Jesus and look at religion in a certain way, so I say black Jesus as a representation of an entire new way of thinking... [like] saying [a] new way of thinking is as easy as putting on an outfit.”

Gaga concluded her interview by stressing for the last time, that the video was “just an artistic statement,” not an attack on anyone, and also told Rancic what she felt her purpose was.

“I believe I was put on this earth to cause a ruckus,” she claimed, which indeed she appears to be faithfully and most ostentatiously doing.

 

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