Fans Have Mixed Feelings Over Lizzo Playing Flute Owned By Former President And Slave Owner James Madison

On Sept. 27, Grammy award-winning songstress Lizzo was over the moon with excitement after experiencing a historical moment at her sold-out concert in Washington, D.C. The classically trained flutist was granted permission to perform with a 200-year-old crystal flute owned by the 14th U.S. President, James Madison.

Lizzo took to social media to share the exciting moment with her her fans.

“Nobody has ever heard this famous crystal flute before,” tweeted Lizzo. “Now you have. I’m the first & only person to ever play this presidential 200-year-old crystal flute— Thank You @librarycongress.”

The flute, accompanied by a police escort, was loaned to Lizzo by the Library of Congress. The instrument is one of the 1,800 flutes that the LOC owns, making it the most extensive flute collection ever.

As she inspected the flute on stage, Lizzo said “it’s like playing out of a wine glass.”

The star then played a few notes while simultaneously beginning to twerk.

“I just twerked and played James Madison’s flute from the 1800s,” she said while smiling from ear to ear, and then she handed it back to the representative.

Carla Hayden, the first African American and first woman Librarian of Congress, sent the invitation for Lizzo to show off her skills.


“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 to see it and even play a couple when you are in DC next week. Like your song, they are “Good as hell,” Hayden tweeted the singer.

The singer responded, “I want the crystal one,” and they made it happen.

While there is history attached to the age of the antique flute, there’s also much history attached to who the flute initially belonged to.

The instrument was made for President James Madison, the 14th American president who was not only a slave owner but also the person who proposed the Three-fifths Compromise.

According to Britannica, the Three-Fifths Compromise allowed slave owners to count only three out of every five enslaved people to offset their taxes. In other words, enslaved people were only considered 3/5ths of a man.

While some fans regarded the moment as symbolic of progress, some saw it as unneeded reverence to a racist.

Tech law scholar and MSNBC columnist Tiffany C. Li shared why she believed this was about more than just a flute.

NBC Washington’s Vince Lattanzio gave Lizzo her props for making history.

There were several others that showed support for Lizzo.

However, there were several fans that felt this part could have been left out of the show.

@RayTheGrouch posed an interesting question. 

“It and its original owner can go to hell,” wrote another user.

Another fan, though a history buff, shared that they would have decided against playing the flute of a slave owner.

Others shared similar sentiments.

Tell us what you think. Did Lizzo make history with the 200-year-old flute or should she have just left it in the dust?