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Russell Simmons Writes Letter to Lady Gaga About Furgate

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Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images / LittleMonsters.com

Furgate is turning into the controversy of the summer. Lady Gaga has sparked a bit of criticism — and support for how she handled the criticism — over her recent alleged wearing of fur.

Mother Monster didn’t confirm or deny the authenticity of the materials she has been wearing, but she did say she respects those who crusade for animals in mature ways (read: not PETA) and that she tries to stay away from skinned fur. In a display of honesty, Mother Monster also said that she might cave at the sight of a work of art fur coat and purchase it.

Overall, though, she avoided the question and issues at hand, and it caused lots of web chatter, a fake letter from animal rights activist Kesha and now, a letter from hip-hop mogul and animal rights crusader Russell Simmons.

Simmons tweeted that he considers Gaga hero but he also penned a reasoned and thoughtful argument about why her stance towards wearing fur is questionable and irresponsible. He pointed out that PETA’s militant tactics are not the issue here; her sphere of influence and seeming lack of consideration for animals is.

The full text of Simmons’ letter is below.

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.

Sincerely,
Russell Simmons

And speaking of Kesha and her letter, which was proven fake, she and Gaga had a brief Twitter exchange.

Gaga’s responsorial tweet offering a box of animal crackers to Kesha looks to have been deleted. According to Capital FM, it read: “Thanks for clearing up that the letter was fake. U are brave+know the meaning of acceptance. Box of animal crackers coming ur way.”

This is such a hot button issue. We wonder if Gaga will take a stand against fur given this backlash or if she will hold her ground.

In other Gaga news, she did post that she was inspired to write ‘PARTYNAUSEOUS,’ her duet with Kendrick Lamar, after her concert drama in Jakarta, where her show was canceled over religious protest. Her tweet is below.

Next: Vote Lady Gaga for Most Fun to Follow on Twitter!

Watch Lady Gaga ‘Marry the Night Video’

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