Lady Gaga's earnest, emotional appearance at Billboard's annual Women in Music event on Friday (Dec. 11) laid plain for everyone in attendance why the publication named the outspoken artist and activist its 2015 Woman of the Year. The singer was introduced by her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, before hitting the stage dressed in an all-red pantsuit, backed by a small string ensemble to perform a powerful version of her latest tune, "Til It Happens To You," on piano. The song, about sexual assault, showcased her gifts as an artist, as well as her devotion to issues of importance to her.
In her acceptance speech, Gaga noted how difficult being a woman in the music industry can be. "It's really hard sometimes for women in music. It’s like a fucking boys club that we just can’t get into...Women provide a wisdom to music that is very unique and special. It is a perspective no one else can have because we bear life. And because we go through things no one else goes through. And because it’s right. Because we’re all equal."