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Lady Gaga celebrates Born This Way’s 10th anniversary with tribute to Black gay activist who inspired LGBTQ anthem

Mother Monster was awarded the Key to West Hollywood as she celebrated 'Born This Way Day' on Sunday.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James

Lady Gaga has revealed the inspiration for her song ‘Born This Way’ as celebrations got underway to mark 10 years since the album of the same name came out.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday (23 May), the ‘Rain On Me’ singer said the song and album were inspired by the Black gay religious activist, Carl Bean, who “sung and wrote about ‘being Born This Way’.”

23 May – which marked 10 years since the release of Gaga’s 2011 album, Born This Way, – was declared ‘Born This Way Day’ by the City of West Hollywood, and Mother Monster was also awarded the key to the city in recognition of the cultural impact the album has had.

Gaga was there to receive the key at Robertson Boulevard, which has been repainted with the words ‘Born This Way’ in the colours of the rainbow flag.

“You’ve been the m***********g key to my heart!”

In a video posted online, Gaga said: “Thank you for this key. You’ve been, I’m sure this will sound cheesy to some people, but you’ve been the m***********g key to my heart for a long time!”

Speaking over cheers from the crowd she continued “I’ll honour this, I’ll cherish this, and I promise that I’ll always be here for this day. […] to feel joy with you, to cry with you, to laugh with you because you know what we are? We’re poets and we’re just talking to each other. […] Let’s have a good time!”

The Born This Way album, released back in 2011, shattered records worldwide. To date, the album has been streamed more than 5.8 billion times and 5.2 million physical copies have been sold.

The 4-time platinum album was Gaga’s first #1 album hitting the 1 spot in 25 countries. Rolling Stone named it one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Announcing 23 May as ‘Born This Way Day’, West Hollywood’s mayor, Lindsey P. Horvath, thanked Gaga for “encouraging us to love ourselves and be proud!”.

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A post shared by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga)

The events helped kick off the city’s Pride events coming a day after Harvey Milk Day (May 22) with more taking place throughout June.

The Haus of Gaga has said it’s putting together a series of surprises over the next month to celebrate 10 years of the album and the community of fans around the world.

Tracks from the Born This Way album are being reimagined by LGBTQ and ally artists, and various partnerships, products, and merchandise are to be announced shortly.

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A post shared by Lady Gaga (@ladygaga)


The Born This Way Foundation is also working closely with New York and Youth Pride, to help LGBTQ centres across the United States.

Gaga recently revealed that she had become pregnant after a music producer raped her aged 19. She was speaking in the first episode of Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry’s new mental health documentary series The Me You Can’t See.

Watch the iconic track here: