Lady Gaga has power, and to snicker at it is a mistake.
The 25-year-old pop goddess
played hardball with Minnesota-based retailer Target and won.
Target wanted a special edition of her newest hit, "Born This Way
," which has already been called a gay anthem by Elton John
. (Upon its release two weeks ago, it became the fastest-selling song ever on iTunes.) Lady Gaga wasn't so willing to agree, given that Target had previously supported
political candidates with anti-gay reputations.
"That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I've ever had in a business meeting," Lady Gaga told Billboard.com. "Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups."
She didn't stop there. "Our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they've made supporting those [anti-gay] groups," she said.
Target took heat last year for giving $150,000 to support a political action group, Minnesota Forward, that supported Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer
, who backed a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
The company has pledged almost a half-million dollars to gay-equality groups so far in 2011, according to Billboard. One of them is Project 515
, a Minnesota organization that wants gay families treated equally with straight families under state law. Target officials told Billboard that they had always supported groups in the LGBT community.
They added that Lady Gaga did not solely influence their decisions. "Certainly her perspective was very helpful in conversations," Dustee Tucker Jenkins, Target's vice president of public relations, said. "But we've considered a variety of different perspectives along the way, and that's gotten us to where we are today."
Target did not return calls for this story.
Lady Gaga has become a force in LGBT activism. In 2010, she supported repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell
" policy banning gays from serving openly in the military, and asked her fans (whom she dubbed "Little Monsters") to put pressure on their senators
Just this week, Lady Gaga teamed up with M•A•C Cosmetics for a second year in a row, announcing that sales of lipstick and "lipglass" shades she helped design will go toward fighting HIV/AIDS. (Lady Gaga is a strong advocate for safe sex and AIDS testing.) The company has released a promotional video
in conjunction to the lipstick line.
The video for "Born This Way" launches online Monday.