Lizzo must be exhausted. Each week she’s the subject of a new uproar, and last week’s was truly one for the books.
After years of establishing her flute skills, playing the instrument is one of her big party tricks. So of course the Library of Congress took the opportunity to invite Lizzo to not only look at their collection of 1,700 flutes but to also play a crystal flute owned by James Madison. The flute was one of the few artifacts retained from his tenure as president due to a fire at the White House.
Not only did Lizzo make a visit, but the Library of Congress handlers came on stage at her Washington, D.C. show to present the flute so she could play it for her audience. She did a bit and did some twerking (the combination of these two activities is a bit of a signature for her). It was a really cool moment that her audience and most people on line really loved.
Of course, that meant that the right had to ruin the party. People like Doug Mastriano’s senior advisor Jenna Ellis and “commentator” Matt Walsh were enraged that she did, mostly because Lizzo is fat, black and hot. They acted like she had pissed on the crystal flute when she had respectfully taught a lot of people a random historical fact while showing off her own skills.
The right was especially loud last week but it’s not like they’re the only people who find themselves boiling over with rage whenever Lizzo does anything. It has become a bipartisan hobby to find inane reasons to be mad at the pop star, who has long defied cultural expectations for a woman who looks like her to simply hide her body, her pleasure, her desires. When she sat court side at a basketball game in short shorts a few years ago, the internet went deliriously mad over it, claiming it was a “family event.” It’s not like numerous other female pop stars had shown up in the same or less clothing, but of course their bodies were thinner than Lizzo’s, making their outfits inherently acceptable.
There have also been past controversies over her sharing videos of her workouts and juice cleanses she has done, being accused of promoting weight loss by activists and influencers as if that’s the only reason she, as a touring performer, would want or need to do either of those things.
The tide likely won’t shift any time soon for how Lizzo will be both perceived and engaged with because both internalized fatphobia and racism are realities no matter how you’re politically affiliated (though one side of the party lines is a bit more forward in externalizing those feelings). But Lizzo herself, on a massive headlining arena tour after a successful year promoting her latest album Special, has handled each wave of unnecessary discourses with grace and very astutely selected engagement.
On this week’s Don’t Let This Flop, hosts Ej Dickson and Brittany Spanos discuss #CrystalFluteGate as well as how bad Blonde is, the Try Guys scandal and some of our favorite past himbos.