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HomeMusicLizzo protests Tennessee law with drag queen concert moment

Lizzo protests Tennessee law with drag queen concert moment

It was bad b— o’clock Friday night in Tennessee when Lizzo protested the state’s anti-drag-show legislation by inviting more than a dozen drag queens to participate in her concert there.

During her Knoxville show at Thompson-Boling Arena, the “Special” artist danced onstage with a number of drag queens dressed in colorful, glittery costumes. Among the featured performers — some of whom were local and several of whom are affiliated with the hit competition program “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — were Aquaria, Kandy Muse, Asia O’Hara and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo.

Lizzo also took a moment during her set to address “current events” unfolding in the state. In February, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation banning “adult cabaret” artists (widely interpreted as code for drag performers) from performing in public and/or in the presence of children.

The law — which opponents have deemed discriminatory and oppressive to the LGBTQ+ community — was temporarily blocked in March by a federal judge who ruled that Tennessee failed to present a compelling case for restricting “adult cabaret” performances in the state.

Tennessee has also come under fire in recent weeks for its response to gun-control protests that erupted after a deadly elementary-school shooting in Nashville.

“In light of recent and tragic events … I was told by people on the internet, ‘Cancel your shows in Tennessee. Don’t go to Tennessee,’” Lizzo told the crowd on Friday.

“We don’t have to boo that person — their reason was valid. But why would I not come to the people who need to hear this message the most, the people who need to feel this release the most?”

On Instagram, multiple drag queens who joined Lizzo onstage Friday thanked the Grammy winner for including them and “uplifting the queens [in] Tennessee.” The “About Damn Time” hitmaker traveled to Knoxville this weekend as part of her Special concert tour, which is coming to Napa, Sacramento and Palm Desert later this year.

“Why would I not create a safe space in Tennessee where we can celebrate Pride entertainers and celebrate our differences and celebrate fat, Black women?” Lizzo continued Friday.

“What people are doing in Tennessee is giving hope, so thank you so much for standing up for your rights, protecting each other and holding the people accountable who should be protecting us.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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