Lizzo performed during the Washington, D.C., stop of her current tour, and it was one for the record books.
Tuesday’s performance of the 34-year-old artist was cut short when a representative of the Library of Congress gave her a crystal flute on stage. The approximately 220-year-old flute was originally owned by James Madison, the fourth president of the United States.
A 2018 LOC blog post describes the instrument as “glass styled in a way that seems to be reserved for especially illustrious figures, and its silver joint is engraved with James Madison’s name and title and the year the flute was made: 1813.”
Loaning it from the Library of Congress, Lizzo became “the first and only person to play this presidential crystal flute,” as she shared in a Tweet with a video of the moment.
As she started to play the flute in the video, Lizzo addressed the crowd, stating, “It’s crystal, it’s like playing out of a wine glass, b*tch, so be patient.”
The performer claimed that prior to her presentation, no one had ever heard the flute in action. Lizzo returned the flute and expressed her gratitude to the Library of Congress for the chance after playing a few songs on it.
Prior to the public performance, a secret concert took place in the Library of Congress, where Lizzo apparently mesmerized staff after receiving an invitation over Twitter. The singer was contacted via social media by Carla Hayden, the fourteenth Librarian of Congress, who requested that she visit their enormous collection of flutes.
Lizzo responded: “IM COMING CARLA! AND IM PLAYIN THAT CRYSTAL FLUTE!!!!!”
Lizzo said that she would “never be over this” “as a flute player” after her performance, but the societal significance of the occasion was acknowledged. Many found encouragement in witnessing a strong Black lady make history by being the first to play the flute that belonged to a slaver in the past.
“B*tch, I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute from the 1800s. We just made history tonight!” Lizzo said onstage. “Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history f—ing cool! History is f—ing cool, you guys!”