"Music has always helped me tell my story,'' Obama said at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. "Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves. It allows us to hear one another.''
Gaga told the crowd: "They said I was weird, that my look, that my choices, that my sound wouldn't work. But music told me not to listen to them.''
Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez also spoke and stood in solidary with Obama, Gaga and Alicia Keys, who is hosting the show.
"Yes, ladies,'' Keys said. "There's nothing better than this.''