Lady Gaga, political punk rockers Pussy Riot and the late author Christopher Hitchens are among the recipients of a peace prize to be presented next week, in memory of John Lennon.
The LennonOno Grant for Peace will be represented by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, in Reykjavik, Iceland on Oct. 9 — the birthday of both the late Beatle and his son, Sean. The prize recognizes activism in the arts.
Ono had high praise for Gaga’s efforts on behalf of gay, lesbian and transgender people.
"She is not only an artist, she is also an activist, using her art to bring better communication to the world," said Ono in a statement, adding that Gaga’s album Born This Way has "changed the mental map of the world."
Gaga will accept the award in person, joined by Hitchens’ widow Carol Blue Hitchens. The often-controversial author of God is Not Great is being posthumously recognized for his work as a journalist.
Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of imprisoned Pussy Riot band member Nadia Tolokonnikova, was presented with the cash prize in New York City last month, shortly after a Russian court sentenced the trio to two years in prison for their "punk prayer" in a Moscow church. The prize will help pay for efforts to win their release.
Ono is among the performers who have voiced support for the band.
The other honorees are author and activist John Perkins, known for his bestselling expose Confessions of an Economic Hit Man; and the late Rachel Corrie, the U.S. peace activist who was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003.