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Lizzo Plays James Madison’s 1813 Flute at DC Concert



Lizzo kicked it seriously old school on Tuesday night (Sept. 27) during her gig at the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC Like, for real old, as in the 1800s. The rapper had a very special guest for the gig: a crystal flute once owned, but never played, by Founding Father and fourth president of the United States, James Madison.

Surely you have questions. Earlier this week, the Library of Congress tweeted out a humble brag about having the largest flute collection in the world, with more than 1,800 pieces, including 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,” they wrote. “Like your song they are ‘Good as Hell.’”

Because she’s a classically trained flautist, Lizzo couldn’t possibly pass up the offer of the loan, so she gleefully made some of her own history at the show. “This is crazy. I have to be really careful,” Lizzo said as she gingerly cradled the instrument and told the crowd, “it’s crystal, it’s like playing out of a wine glass bitch, so be patient.” She then trilled a few notes on the instrument, held it up triumphantly over her head and carefully walked it back to the Smithsonian rep, who then carefully slid the flute back into its velvety case.

“Bitch I just twerked and played James Madison’s flue from the 1800s!” Lizzo kvelled. “We just made history tonight! Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history cool. History is freaking cool, you guys!” The French flute was a gift to celebrate Madison’s second term and in her comments Lizzo noted that “no one has ever heard what it sounds like… now you do.” In a second post she added, “I’m the first and only person to play this presidential crystal flute. It’s literally an heirloom — Like… as a flute player this is iconic and I will never be over it.”

In the comments, Grimes, who knows a thing or two about diving into mystical realms, wrote, “This is the most high fantasy thing I’ve ever seen in the real world omg. A mythical crystal flute no one has ever heard play? This is some elf shit.”

A follow-up tweet from the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden read: “@lizzo you are a gift to all of us. And it’s YOU who just made history much cooler. We appreciate all the @libraryofcongress love at the concert last night. We can’t wait to have you back.”

Lizzo’s Special Tour will hit Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia on Thursday (Sept. 29).

Watch the special moment below.

A version of this story first appeared on

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