Lady Gaga gave an emotionally powerful performance of ‘Till It Happens to You’ at the Oscars. From the documentary ‘The Hunting Ground,’ it was among the Best Original Song nominees. With an introduction by Vice President Joe Biden, the music superstar delivered a much buzzed about, show-stopping moment in the ceremony.

Lady Gaga

Photo: Lady Gaga
Credit: PR Photos

While her David Bowie tribute performance at the Grammys may have received mixed reviews, such was not the case this time around. She’s further cementing her new role in capturing the Zeitgeist. Last year, she delivered a stunning tribute to the Sound of Music 50th anniversary, getting praise, most importantly, from Julie Andrews herself, for the amazing performance of those iconic songs.

A year later, her performance was of a very different sort, singing ‘Till It Happens to You’ which she and songwriting legend Diane Warren co-wrote. It’s from the soundtrack of the documentary, ‘The Hunting Ground’ addresses the uncomfortable topic of the widespread incidents of sexual assault and rape on college campuses; finally shedding light and, one hopes, from this a springboard to action.

Enter Vice President Joe Biden, who took to the stage to introduce her. As a Senator, he introduced the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994′ and, to this day, remains in the midst of the dialogue, as leader of the “It’s On Us” campaign.

VP Biden called on the audience to “take the pledge.” He went on to say, “A pledge that says, ‘I will intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.’ Let’s change the culture.”

Lady Gaga has long identified herself as a survivor of sexual assault and, it was clear from the first note, that for her it was more than a musical performance, it was a message she intended to send to the world. Dressed in white, seated at a white grand piano, her vocals were powerful and full of emotion, and she was joined by a chorus of survivors of sexual assault.

Among those voicing praise on social media was Kesha who’s in the midst of a legal battle — and has hit a setback — trying to free herself from the producer, Dr Luke, who she alleges sexually assaulted her. She Tweeted thankfulness to the VP and to Lady Gaga for ‘bringing attention to sexual assault at the Oscars.’ And continuing, added, “‘It hit very close to my heart for obvious reasons.”

Lady Gaga had, prior to the performance, called her out on Twitter saying, “.@kesharose I’ll be thinking of u 2nite. This is not over we’ll stand by u until you are free to live a HAPPY life. Everyone deserves that.”

It’s an understatement to call it a powerful moment in Oscars history. It’s more than a performance of a song that brought tears to many in the audience and around the world. It’s an expose of a serious and too-often hidden epidemic even as it was, too, a moment for survivors — both those joining Lady Gaga on stage — and those everywhere in solidarity to unify.

And there was an unexpected and unscripted moment; as the survivors exited the stage, breakout star Brie Larson, who won Best Actress for ‘Room,’ for her portrayal of a woman held captive for years, and sexually assaulted and raising her captor’s child, embraced every single one of the survivors.

You can see video highlights and photos below of Lady Gaga perofrming ‘Til It Happens to You.’