Lizzo Played James Madison’s Flute

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If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen a LOT of chatter about Lizzo’s recent concert in which she played a 200-year-old flute that was gifted to James Madison, a founding father. The star posted a clip of the moment with the flute on stage, shown below:

NOBODY HAS EVER HEARD THIS FAMOUS CRYSTAL FLUTE BEFORE

NOW YOU HAVE

IM THE FIRST & ONLY PERSON TO EVER PLAY THIS PRESIDENTIAL 200-YEAR-OLD CRYSTAL FLUTE— THANK YOU @librarycongress ❤️


Lizzo

The flute was given to the former president in 1813 as a celebratory gift for his second inauguration. Weirdly enough, Madison himself never played it — after it was granted to him, the flute was sent to the archives at the Library of Congress, and it’s been sitting there for alllll this time. That is, until this week, when Lizzo was invited to “come see it and even play a couple” of songs.

The @librarycongress has the largest flute collection in the world with more than 1,800. It incl Pres James Madison’s 1813 crystal flute.
@lizzo we would love for you to come see it and even play a couple when you are in DC next week. Like your song they are “Good as hell.”😉


Carla Hayden

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden — who is the first Black woman to lead the national library — told BuzzFeed News she was “thrilled” about Lizzo playing the flute and that she was able to help make it happen.

In case you didn’t know, Lizzo is actually a classically trained flutist, so it makes perfect sense that she would be invited to give the flute a whirl.

Before her concert, Lizzo practiced a few songs at the Library, which has the largest flute collection in the world. A video of the practice session was posted on Twitter, as shown below:

A flute @lizzo played in the Main Reading Room Monday (with permission from some lucky researchers who were there!) looks similar to the crystal one she had at her concert, but is actually plexiglass. It is also very rare & was manufactured when the material was first invented.🔊


Library of Congress

As you can probably guess, some people — mostly conservatives — on Twitter were not too happy about the centuries-old flute being played.

This Lizzo-flute controversy is a perfect example of what I have termed Face Tattoo Phenomenon™: the phenomenon whereby someone does something deliberately controversial in an attempt to draw attention, and then acts offended when you notice.


Twitter: @benshapiro

Someone who identified themselves as “President Trump’s favorite author” tried to say that Lizzo “isn’t talented enough.”

Lizzo isn’t talented enough to play music on a $20 Yamaha Plastic Recorder off Amazon let alone a crystal flute once owned by James Madison.

The Biden Administration is making a mockery of the country.


Twitter: @nickadamsinusa

One other person even went as far to say that the flute-playing “degrade[d] our history.”

The Library of Congress really took out a 200-year old flute that belonged to James Madison just so Lizzo could twerk with it.

They degrade our history and then call you racist if you actually value it. https://t.co/i5cHjl5RXX


Twitter: @greg_price11

However, there were many others who pointed out the racist undertones of the criticism.

Lizzo is such an interesting person for right wing content creators to moralize about because she’s so squeaky clean. She makes catchy songs about positivity and plays the flute. There’s no plausible deniability that they hate her for any other reason than being black and fat.


Twitter: @hoot_little

People shed light on how flawed right-wing Twitter was in their takes on the matter.

If you wouldn’t have a problem with Taylor Swift playing Ben Franklin’s piano, you shouldn’t have a problem with Lizzo playing James Madison’s flute.

If you do have a problem, stop and think about why that is.


Twitter: @GeorgeTakei

And one person brought up another salient point — did y’all even know this flute existed before Lizzo played it???

Fabulous superstar singer Lizzo is living rent-free in the empty minds of racists today for masterfully playing a 200 year old crystal flute they never even knew existed until she played it. Must be exhausting to live with such hate day in and day out.


Twitter: @therickydavila

Someone else subverted the comments by saying they thought Lizzo should be cast as a mermaid in her own movie. Talking to you, Hollywood!

Personally I think Lizzo should be in a movie where she’s a beautiful flute-playing mermaid who lures sailors to their watery doom


Twitter: @ambernoelle

And finally, another person spotlighted the fact that Lizzo playing this flute was a moment of history being made, since James Madison was the proposer of the 3/5 compromise afterall.

James Madison was the author of the 3/5 compromise. He’s lucky @lizzo didn’t break that flute into five pieces and throw it off the stage. Stay mad.


Twitter: @tamisawyer

So, yeah. Lizzo did that.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.





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