While performing at her show at Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C. Tuesday (Sept. 27) night, Lizzo made history by playing a 200-year-old flute that once belonged to President James Madison.
The “About Damn Time” singer and accomplished flutist carefully played the delicate woodwind, which was sent as a gift to James Madison in 1813 by the French flute maker Claude Laurent. The Library of Congress has maintained the flute in its vault for decades before allowing Lizzo to play it onstage.
In footage shared by concertgoers, Lizzo excitedly and delicately handled the flute under the careful watch of Library staff and Capitol Police. She briefly shared the history of the flute with her audience and said she was “the first person to ever play it.”
“B***h, I’m scared,” she said to the audience’s laughter. “It’s crystal. It’s like playing out of a wine glass, b***h, so be patient.”
She played a note on the crystal flute, pausing excitedly after it made a sound, according to a video Lizzo shared on social media. Then, she blew a few more fluttery notes on it, cautiously twerking as she played, as is her signature. After a few seconds, she held the flute high in the air, victorious, and carefully returned it to the staff waiting a few feet away.
“B,***h, I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute from the 1800s,” she said incredulously. “We just made history tonight!”
Lizzo then thanked the library for “preserving our history” and reminded her fans that “history is freaking cool.”
Earlier this week, the Library of Congress invited Lizzo to visit its collection of 1,700 flutes, the largest in the world, per the Library. She carefully played the flute there first before she “serenaded employees and a few researchers” with a “more practical” woodwind, the Library said.
Lizzo asked the Library if she could play the famed flute for a few moments during her Washington show, and the Library obliged, though it sent Capitol Police and several other staffers in charge of security along with the flute to ensure its safety.
The recent Emmy winner regularly plays the flute during her concerts and has experimented with other rare and valuable flutes, including an 18k-gold instrument, though she’s partial to one woodwind named Sasha Flute.
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.”? pic.twitter.com/2FkUFZfIYh
— Carla Hayden (@LibnOfCongress) September 23, 2022
— Vince Lattanzio (@VinceLattanzio) September 28, 2022