Lizzo Playing James Madison’s Flute?


Amin Shah, Managing Editor

I was just as confused as you when I read that title.

Apparently hip-hop artist Lizzo has played James Madison’s crystal flute (he had one, but it is unknown if he actuallu played the flute or not). It was gifted to Madison in 1813 by French flute-maker Claude Laurent and has been in the Library of Congress’ vault for decades. That was until Lizzo was permitted to play it at her stop in Washington D.C. for the tour of her new album ‘‘Special.’’ That was not the first time she played it though, as she visited Madison’s private estate on a tour and was given permission to play the former president’s seemingly ‘‘unused’’ instrument, possibly for the first time and on his estate.

While she played it onstage (and while Library of Congress staff eagerly waited for its return to the vault onstage), she enlightened the audience on its importance as a relic of American history. Many called the act an important step in racial representation in American history, as former president James Madison did own slaves. Many others flocked to Twitter to share hate on the artist due to such an act, calling it a ‘‘disgrace to American history’’ or ‘‘propagated leftist ideas.’’

The reality is, American history is already disgraceful to human rights in many respects, as outside of the clear slavery and racially motivated Jim Crow laws and its impact on America up until today, deportation, corruption, political conflict, and simply the abundance of hate in this country has run its course and has much more of a disgraceful impact than Lizzo playing James Madison’s flute. Just another overplayed rush of hate due to something that does not matter. Whether or not it was ‘‘racial retribution’’ or ‘‘propagated leftist ideas,’’ at the end of the day, Lizzo is an artist (whether you enjoy her music or not). This should be a grand moment in her career and should be celebrated among her fans and passively appreciated by anyone who simply hears about the news (as I was not even aware of such information until given the topic of this article). It really is a strange piece of news though.