EDITOR'S NOTE: In response to criticism from her fans and the press about Lady Gaga wearing fur, the multi-platinum superstar wrote a no-apologies letter on her website. Russell Simmons has written a letter to her:
Dear Mother Monster,
You will go down in history as one of the most talented and beloved artists the world has ever known. You are an integral part of the artistic community that gives a voice to our pain, joy, struggles and triumphs through your music.
This is the same community that has historically been on the side of right since the beginning of time - bringing people together via the language of song. Poets always spoke the truth in song, whether it was via the innocent spirituals, as the slave songs came to be known, the protest songs of the beatnik generation who pushed for the end of the war, the legendary peace anthem of John Lennon's "Imagine," or the poetry of Tupac Shakur that gave a voice to the violent hardships that exist for every angry child growing up in inner cities. The poets who make music about social change set the tone and direction for our society because they are able to express the god that is within themselves.
When you look inside, you see "god" or the connective tissue that bonds you to all living beings and to life itself. The artist knows what the yogis and other leading spiritual beings have said throughout history: that we (all living beings) are ONE. If god were the ocean, we would be cups of god.
While I will not judge each individual's unconscious action, I will speak to the collective. The ripping off of skin of other sentient beings while they are still alive - during a time when we have options available to us to wear cruelty-free alternatives - is an issue I have to lend my voice to. Wearing these skins is abusive to animals, but equally as abusive to ourselves, as we are the animal that we abuse. As a vegan, I believe the greatest karmic disaster in the history of humankind is the 40 billion animals made to be born into suffering each year. Fur-bearing animals suffer the same fate for vanity and greed.
Lady Gaga, you are a great artist who has used your celebrity to fight for equality and fairness, so I know you are a compassionate loving human being who would not publicly defend others for their unconscious behavior. LET'S NOT SET OFF A CHAIN REACTION WHERE ARTISTS ACT AS SUPPORT FOR A SOCIETY'S UNCONSCIOUS BEHAVIOR. Let's instead do what artists have done throughout history and be on the side of love and compassion, because that is our natural state.
I am PETA's Person of The Year and I support them, but this isn't about PETA or their tactics. Don't allow your feelings about them to govern how you feel about animals. Those feelings should come as a result of your heart meditation. Please continue to use your immense talent as an instrument of love, peace and compassion. Watch this video, whose message cannot be denied, and know that I love you.