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Conservatives go full racist after Lizzo plays a crystal flute

Lizzo belts out a tune during an appearance on NPR's "Tiny Desk" series
Lizzo belts out a tune during an appearance on NPR's "Tiny Desk" series Photo: Screenshot

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.

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.

“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.”

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.

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.”

Meanwhile, the vast majority of tweets about Lizzo playing the crystal flute either praised the triumphant musical moment or ridiculed the right’s histrionics.

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