Friday, October 5, 2012

John Lennon Peace Grant awarded to Pussy Riot and Gaga

Lady Gaga has been announced as the fifth recipient of the Lennonono Grant For Peace.

Gaga will be given the award by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono at a ceremony on October 9 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Gaga will then be giving her prize money to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

"Lady Gaga is one of the biggest living artists of our time," said Ono in a statement. "She is not only an artist, she is also an activist, using her art to bring better communication to the world. She is being acknowledged for her activism, and how her album 'Born This Way' has widely changed the mental map of the world. And how it has made us deal with the future world, which happens to be here already."

The other four activists and campaigners set to receive the grant have already been announced, and include the partially imprisoned Russian punk collective, Pussy Riot.

As well as Pussy Riot, the award will be presented posthumously to peace activist Rachel Corrie, who died in 2003, and to the late writer Christopher Hitchens. Author John Perkins will also receive the award.

Corrie's grant will be given to the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, while Hitchens' money will go to 826 National who encourage literacy among under-resourced youth, and PEN, who advocate and protect the rights of writers.

John Perkins will attend the ceremony in person and give his award money to Dream Change, a non-profit that promotes positive change for more balanced communities worldwide.

Pussy Riot were given their grant early at a special ceremony in NYC last month. Yoko Ono presented the award to Pyotr Verzilov, husband of Pussy Riot member Nadia Tolokonnikova. The money is being used to help the three imprisoned members' appeal to be released from jail.

The award ceremony takes place on what would have been John Lennon's 72nd birthday.

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