Lizzo played James Madison’s flute

If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably talked A LOT about Lizzo’s recent concert where she played a 200-year-old flute donated to James Madison, one of the founders. The star posted a clip of the moment with the flute on stage, shown below:

NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD THIS FAMOUS CRYSTAL FLUTE BEFORE YOU NOW BE THE FIRST & THE ONLY PERSON TO EVER PLAY THIS PRESIDENTILE 200-YEAR-OLD CRYSTAL FLUTE — THANK YOU @librarycongress ❤️

Lizzo

The flute was given to the former president in 1813 as a festive gift for his second inauguration. Strangely, Madison never played it himself – after it was granted, the flute was sent to the archives of the Library of Congress, and this time it has stood there forever. That is, until this week, when Lizzo was invited to “come and watch and even play a few” songs.

The @librarycongress has the largest flute collection in the world with over 1,800. It includes Pres James Madison’s 1813 crystal flute. @lizzo we’d love for you to come watch and even play a few when you’re in DC next week. Like your song they are “Good as hell.”😉

Carla Hayden

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden — the first black woman to head the national library — told BuzzFeed News she was “excited” that Lizzo was playing the flute and that she could help make it happen.

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

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

A flute @lizzo played in the main reading room on Monday (with the permission of some lucky researchers who were there!) looks like the crystal 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 weren’t too happy about the age-old flute being played.

This controversy over the lizzo flute is a perfect example of what I’ve called Face Tattoo Phenomenon™: the phenomenon where someone does something deliberately controversial in an attempt to attract attention, then acts offended when you notice it.


Twitter: @benshapiro

Someone who identified himself 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 from Amazon, let alone a crystal flute once owned by James Madison. The Biden administration is making fun of the country.


Twitter: @nickadamsinusa

Another person went so far as to say that flute playing is “degraded”[d] our history.”

The Library of Congress actually pulled out a 200-year-old flute that belonged to James Madison so Lizzo could twerk with it. They degrade our history and then call you racist if you really value it. https://t.co/i5cHjl5RXX


Twitter: @greg_price11

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

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


Twitter: @hoot_little

People are shedding light on how flawed Twitter was in their take 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 have a problem, stop and think about why.


Twitter: @GeorgeTakei

And someone brought up another salient point – did you even know this flute existed before Lizzo played it???

Fabulous superstar singer Lizzo lives rent-free in the empty heads of racists these days because she masterfully played a 200-year-old crystal flute that they didn’t even know existed until she played it. Must be exhausting to live with such hatred day in and day out.


Twitter: @therickydavila

Someone else undermined the comments by saying they felt Lizzo should be cast as a mermaid in her own movie. I’m talking to you, Hollywood!

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


Twitter: @ambernoelle

And finally, another person emphasized the fact that Lizzo playing this flute was a moment of history, as James Madison was the proponent of the three-fifths compromise.

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 angry.


Twitter: @tamisawyer

So yes. Lizzo did it That.

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

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