June 7, 2023

Lizzo Protests Drag Performance Restriction At Tennessee Concert


Lizzo performs at The O2 Arena on March 15, 2023 in London, England (Jim Dyson/Getty Images).

Lizzo performs at The O2 Arena on March 15, 2023 in London, England (Jim Dyson/Getty Images).

During her concert in Knoxville, Tennessee on Friday, Lizzo was joined by drag queens to protest the state’s recent legislation restricting ‘cabaret’ shows.

Lizzo used her platform to stand up for drag performers during her concert in Knoxville, Tennessee this weekend. On Friday (April 21), the 4-time Grammy-winner protested the state’s recent legislation banning drag as part of ‘adult cabaret entertainment,’ performing “Everybody’s Gay” alongside a group of drag queens at the Thompson-Boling Arena. Among those involved in the performance were Aquaria, Kandy Muse, Asia O’Hara, and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Commonly known as the Tennessee drag ban, the new law prohibits adult performances on public property or locations where it can be viewed by minors. The law also points out “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators,” as restricted performances.

In March, the bill was signed by GOP Governor Bill Lee, although it was blocked by a federal judge in the same month, who said it was too vaguely written. Civil rights groups have also criticized the bill as being a freedom of speech violation. The Tennessee law has been introduced as part of a wider attempt to forbid drag shows and additional LGBTQ+ public gatherings.

“In light of recent and tragic events and current events, I was told by people on the internet, ‘Cancel your shows in Tennessee,’ ‘Don’t go to Tennessee,’” Lizzo said. “Their reason was valid, but why would I not come to the people who need to hear this message the most?”

She added, “Why would I not create a safe space in Tennessee where we can celebrate drag entertainers and celebrate our differences?”

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