In an act of defiance against Tennessee’s anti-drag law, Lizzo performed in the state with a whole bunch of drag race local favorites and queens, and yes, it was iconic.
Although she was advised by fans to cancel her show in Tennessee due to the state’s oppressive anti-drag law, which prohibits “adult cabaret entertainment” in public spaces and where it might be seen by minors, Lizzo instead brought in drag performers, including RuPaul’s Drag Race graduates, on stage.
Taking to Instagram on Saturday (April 22), the “About Damn Time” singer proudly shared a series of moments from Friday night’s colorful performance during her show in Knoxville, as part of her fourth studio album tour. Special.
The star captioned a video: “Thank you to these beautiful drag queens for showing their pride in Tennessee.”
Iconic drag race stars including Season 11’s Vanessa ‘Miss Vanjie’ Mateo, Season 10’s Asia O’Hara, Season 10 winner Aquaria and Season 13 runner-up Kandy Muse, who has joined the cast of the upcoming All Stars 8joined Lizzo on stage – along with a whole host of local drag queens.
Lizzo also shared a clip from her powerful Friday night speech, where the ‘Juice’ hitmaker explains to a cheering audience, “In light of recent and tragic events and current events, people online have said to me: ‘ Cancel your shows in Tennessee’, ‘Don’t go to Tennessee’, ‘We don’t have to go’.”
The singer, who dazzled in a shimmery green sequin jumpsuit that gave major royal vibes, continued: “Their reasons were valid. But why don’t I come to the people who most need to hear this message, the people who most need to feel this release?
“Why not create a safe space in Tennessee where we can celebrate drag artists and celebrate our differences? And celebrate fat black women?
Cheerful fan responses to Lizzo’s heroic act of defiance flooded social media, with one Instagram comment – which garnered more than 7,000 likes – praising the drag queens for being “so strong and brave”.
“Thank you for enlightening our friends who really need our help these days. We appreciate it,” the comment read.
A fan who attended the show praised Lizzo’s decision and said bringing the drag queens out was “one of the best parts of the night”, adding, “TN is not a scary place – the people who make decisions for us DO NOT represent us!
Other social media users shared their love for Lizzo and the scene “full of beautiful people”, with one commenter even calling for Lizzo to run for office.
“No one touches politics and pop culture like Queen Lizzo – Lizzo does for President,” they wrote.
Tennessee’s oppressive ban – the first anti-drag bill to pass through a US state legislature – would have gone into effect on April 1, but a federal judge, Thomas Parker, decided to block the bill 3 of the Senate at the end of March, believing that the law too broad to be passed.
The restraining order on the anti-drag bill has been extended until May 26.
Tennessee Senate Bill 3 seeks to update an existing state law to prevent “adult-directed businesses” from operating within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship, including “cabaret shows for adults”.
The legislation defines these shows as featuring “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a lustful interest.”
Those who break the law risk a misdemeanor for a first offense and up to six years in prison for subsequent offenses, which would qualify as felonies.
Lizzo’s world tour continues through July 30, with further US stops and dates in the UK, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden and Luxembourg.
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