Lizzo delighted fans on Tuesday night by playing a few notes on a 200-year-old crystal flute owned by fourth President James Madison at her Washington, D.C. concert. But while many cheered the delightful moment, several high-profile conservatives took to Twitter to whine that the Grammy-winning pop star and classically trained flutist had somehow “degraded” American history.
“They degrade our history and then call you racist if you actually value it,” one Republican tweeted.
The thrilling musical moment came about after Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, the first African American and the first woman ever to hold the position, tweeted an invitation to Lizzo on September 23 to visit the library’s flute collection while in D.C. on her current tour. The singer took Hayden up on the offer, visiting the Library of Congress on Monday where she played several historical instruments.
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Hearing @lizzo play some of the Library's priceless antique instruments on Monday was such a gift, and we were honored and happy to help her share that gift with her concert audience Tuesday night. Here is some more behind-the-scenes footage of her Library tour. #LizzoAtLOC pic.twitter.com/OQc4K3YXBg
— Library of Congress (@librarycongress) September 28, 2022
Then on Tuesday night, library handlers, accompanied by Capitol Police, delivered Madison’s crystal flute to Lizzo onstage at the Capitol One Arena, where she played a few notes on the instrument.
NOBODY HAS EVER HEARD THIS FAMOUS CRYSTAL FLUTE BEFORE
NOW YOU HAVE
— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) September 28, 2022
“IM THE FIRST & ONLY PERSON TO EVER PLAY THIS PRESIDENTIAL 200-YEAR-OLD CRYSTAL FLUTE— THANK YOU @librarycongress,” Lizzo tweeted later. (As NPR notes, at least one other person has played the instrument.)
As videos of the performance made their way online and fans cheered the history significance of the moment, it didn’t take long for conservative pundits to lose their minds.
“The Library of Congress really took out a 200-year-old flute that belonged to James Madison just so Lizzo could twerk with it,” tweeted Greg Price, a senior digital strategist at right-wing consulting agency X Strategies. “They degrade our history and then call you racist if you actually value it.”
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
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 28, 2022
Noted anti-trans troll Matt Walsh cast the performance in bizarrely conspiratorial terms, while conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and California Republican James Bradley apparently took issue with the fact that Lizzo twerked while playing the flute at her concert. Conservative author Nick Adams went so far as to insult the classically trained musician’s skills.
Lizzo playing James Madison's flute was a form of racial retribution, according to the woke Left. And I actually have no doubt that this is part of the reason why the Library of Congress facilitated this spectacle. https://t.co/obpKb09PWo
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) September 28, 2022
If all we had seen was the clip of Lizzo playing the flute in the halls of the Library of Congress while wearing a semi-modest outfit, everyone would have shrugged. But that's not the clip everyone championed as groundbreaking: it was the clip where she bragged about twerking.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 29, 2022
Lizzo twerking nearly naked while playing the #JamesMadison flute somehow feels like somebody took a dump on the American flag.
— James Bradley (@JamesBradleyCA) September 29, 2022
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. pic.twitter.com/YAri6RsjVG
— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) September 28, 2022
One commentator on One America News actually compared Lizzo playing Madison’s flute to Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned and called the performance “degenerate.”
Lizzo played James Madison's crystal flute and that's why I no longer believe in liberal democracy pic.twitter.com/ITTCCbtdS4
— Bee (@mount_bees) September 29, 2022
Meanwhile, the vast majority of tweets about Lizzo playing the crystal flute either praised the triumphant musical moment or ridiculed the right’s histrionics.
If you are "humiliated" by Lizzo playing a flute, may I suggest you go touch grass.
These culture war grifters count on people not having contact with the real world. https://t.co/qxTuSWYLPP
— Jonathan Casey (@JonathanTCasey) September 29, 2022
Lizzo playing Madison’s flute was such a hit with conservatives I’m going to steal and wear Washington’s wig.
As a merkin.
— 🏳️⚧️Timmie🏳️⚧️ (@haytimmie) September 29, 2022
These videos are a day old but I just keep thinking about how many kids were probably inspired to learn more about the Library of Congress or James Madison's crystal flute or classical music after seeing Lizzo play antique instruments. https://t.co/ZI8lP0T1O2
— Valerie Insinna (@ValerieInsinna) September 29, 2022
Conservatives are mad that Lizzo played an old flute that they didn’t even know existed 24 hours ago pic.twitter.com/KLsQZk8XRq
— jerrell jackson (@datbassjawn) September 29, 2022
Conservatives are all pissed off about Lizzo playing a flute you had no idea existed until yesterday, yet you all fucking clapped when Nic Cage stole the Declaration of Independence
— John Phipps: Turnip Knight (@MagitekDad) September 29, 2022
racism is so funny, how are conservatives mad at Lizzo for playing an old flute right now 😭😭😭
— Pierpoint & Co. Chief Executive Officer (@kingbealestreet) September 29, 2022