Lizzo’s flute performance just earned her an invitation to James Madison’s home

A Black woman with two hair buns poses for pictures in a blue dress with thin straps
Lizzo played James Madison’s crystal flute briefly at a concert in September.
(Kayla James / For The Times)

Playing James Madison’s 2-century-old crystal flute last week earned Lizzo praise, criticism and, most recently, an invitation to tour the Founding Father’s Montpelier, Va., home.

The team managing Madison’s estate has offered the singer the opportunity to perform at the fourth U.S. president’s sprawling 2,650-acre property, The Times has confirmed.

“Montpelier has enthusiastically invited Lizzo to perform and share her unparalleled talent,” a representative told The Times in a statement Monday. “Recognizing how busy Lizzo’s schedule is, both James Madison’s Montpelier and the Montpelier Descendants Committee would be overjoyed to have the superstar bring her music to Montpelier, the home of President James Madison, the U.S. Constitution, and generations of enslaved Americans.”

TMZ, which first reported the news, said the estate also offered the singer an invitation for a private tour of Madison’s home.

Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning musician Lizzo made history on Tuesday when she played an 1813 crystal flute onstage at her Washington, D.C., concert.

Sept. 28, 2022

Whether Lizzo will actually stop by the house remains uncertain as the “About Damn Time” singer continues her “Special” tour. Her next stop is Monday night at Madison Square Garden in New York. She will come to Los Angeles’ Kia Forum on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19.

Days before her concert at the nation’s Capitol, the singer replied to Carla Hayden, the 14th librarian of Congress, who tweeted pictures of the library’s collection of woodwinds, including Madison’s instrument. She tagged the singer, requesting that she come and see the “largest flute collection in the world,” and “even play a couple when you are in DC next week.”

Lizzo’s response?



The propulsive follow-up album to her 2019 breakthrough comes on the heels of three Emmy nominations.

July 18, 2022

In an Instagram video posted last week that showed a segment from her D.C. performance, Lizzo carefully took the 1813 flute and played a couple of notes. “It’s crystal, it’s like playing out of a wine glass, b—” she said.

The instrument was given to Madison by Claude Laurent, a Parisian watchmaker and mechanic, in the early 1800s on the occasion of his second inauguration, according to the Library of Congress.

After Lizzo’s turn with the flute, Hayden celebrated the singer on Twitter, writing it’s “YOU who just made history much more cooler.” However, it wasn’t only Hayden who cheered on the “Special” singer. She also got her flowers from Grimes, law professor and columnist Tiffany C. Li and others.

(There were detractors as well, such as conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, who tweeted, “Lizzo’s performance wearing actual clothing in the Library of Congress was delightful! Twerking with pieces of American history is, however, degrading and vulgarizing — and that’s the clip the media celebrated.”)

Adding to the love Lizzo got for her crystal flute performance, Twitter users have joked that the singer should also get access to a number of other artifacts — real and fantasy — including the Liberty Bell, a Neanderthal flute, Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet and even the Ocarina of Time from the “Legend of Zelda.”


“Some of these Lizzo flute tweets are gold,” she tweeted in response Monday.

Times staff writer Nardine Saad contributed to this report.