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Lizzo

Grammy-winning singer Lizzo protests Tennessee law restricting drag shows

Author: Editors Desk Source: The Guardian
April 23, 2023 at 21:11
Lizzo performs on NBC's Today show in New York. Photograph: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
Lizzo performs on NBC's Today show in New York. Photograph: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

n a concert on Friday night in Knoxville, Tennessee, in a glittery protest against state legislation designed to restrict drag performances in public, the singer Lizzo filled her stage with drag queens.

In concert at the Thompson-Boling arena, the Grammy-winning Juice singer brought out drag performers including Aquaria, Kandy Muse, Asia O’Hara and Vanessa Vanji.

On Saturday, Lizzo posted videos on Instagram from the show, including comments to the crowd that referenced the pending law.

In February, the Republican governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, signed the legislation against “adult cabaret” in public or in front of minors.

A federal judge temporarily blocked the law in late March, saying it was too vaguely written. Civil rights groups have criticized the law as a violation of free speech.

The Tennessee law is part of a wider Republican effort to restrict drag shows and other 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 during the Friday concert.

“Their reason was valid, but why would I not come to the people who need to hear this message the most?

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

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