Lady Gaga didn’t sing tonight, but her voice soared at the third annual SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Patron of the Artists Awards. Outside the gala event at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills, flags flew at half-mast to honor the victims of the latest mass shooting a night ago in Thousand Oaks.
“We are facing a crisis of epic proportions,” she told the black-tie audience Thursday. “We are in the middle of a global mental health crisis.”
Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation works to create a kinder and braver world by de-stigmatizing mental health issues, and she shared her own battles with “suicidal identiation” with the audience. “I needed help. I wish there had been a system in place to empower me to say no to toxic work environments and people of questionable behavior,” she said. “I wish I’d had you (the SAG-AFTRA Foundation) when I was 19.”
“The negative news and tragedies are nonstop and overwhelming,” she said. “Let’s make kindness overwhelming.”
Surprisingly light on politics, others SAG-AFTRA Foundation honorees included Harrison Ford, Spike Lee and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of Hollywood’s biggest givers.
Ford, a longtime environmental activist, warned of the “global rise of nationalism and the denigration of science.”
“The natural world doesn’t need people,” he said, “but people need nature.”
Lee praised the acting profession, saying “This award is for the actors who for the last four decades have made me look good.”
Katzenberg sounded a similar theme, telling the actors in the ballroom that “if you didn’t do what you do, I could have never, ever defined what I do.”