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Watch Lizzo Make History as the First Person to Play Late President Madison's Crystal Flute

A Black woman has become the first person allowed to play a crystal flute owned by President James Madison, a slaver.

At the Washington D.C. show of her ongoing tour, Lizzo gave a performance for the history books.


The 34-year-old musician's show came to a halt Tuesday when a representative of the Library of Congress presented her with a crystal flute onstage. The flute once belonged to James Madison, fourth president of the United States, and is over 220 years old.

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.

In the video, Lizzo received the flute and prepared to play, saying to the audience: "It's crystal, it's like playing out of a wine glass, bitch, so be patient."

The musician revealed that nobody had ever heard what the flute sounded like until her performance. After playing a few melodies on the instrument, Lizzo returned the flute, thanking the Library of Congress for the opportunity.

The public performance was proceeded by a private playing at the Library of Congress, where Lizzo reportedly dazzled employees after being invited via Twitter. Carla Hayden, the fourteenth Librarian of Congress, reached out the singer on the social media site asking her to tour their flute collection, the largest in the world.

Lizzo responded: "IM COMING CARLA! AND IM PLAYIN THAT CRYSTAL FLUTE!!!!!"

Following her performance, Lizzo shared that "as a flute player" she would "never be over this," but the social significance of the moment was not overlooked. Many took inspiration watching an empowered Black woman become the first to play a historic flute that was once owned by a slaver.

"Bitch, 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!"

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