WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Music superstar Lizzo is no stranger to making headlines and making history.
She was the first female host to introduce herself as the musical guest on SNL. Lizzo was the first woman to headline the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. And the former Minneapolis resident, who famously got her start in music in the Twin Cities, was the first plus-sized Black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue.
So it's no surprise that she's added another milestone to the history books during her 2022 "Special" tour.
Tuesday night in Washington, D.C., the three-time Grammy and Emmy winner paused her show to play a 200-year-old crystal flute owned by the Library of Congress.
Lizzo posted video of the moment on Instagram, writing, "YALL.. THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS LET ME PLAY THEIR HISTORIC 200 YEAR OLD CRYSTAL FLUTE ON STAGE TONIGHT— NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE… NOW YOU DO."
She shared a second clip of the now-viral moment, adding "YEAH IM DOUBLE POSTING BUT IM THE FIRST & ONLY PERSON TO PLAY THIS PRESIDENTIAL CRYSTAL FLUTE ITS LITERALLY AN HEIRLOOM— LIKE… AS A FLUTE PLAYER THIS IS ICONIC AND I WILL NEVER BE OVER IT."
After playing a few notes on the flute, which was made in 1813 for President James Madison, Lizzo returned the heirloom to Library curator Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford before heading back to the mic.
Visibly elated, Lizzo exclaimed, "We just made history tonight! Thank you to the Library of Congress for preserving our history and making history freaking cool. History is freaking cool you guys."
According to the Library of Congress, the flute was made for Madison by Claude Laurent of Paris, one of 20 Laurent glass flutes in the Library’s Dayton C. Miller Collection.
Madison’s flute was made specifically for him in honor of his second inauguration, and its silver joint is engraved with Madison’s name, title and the year the flute was made.
Wednesday morning, the Library of Congress shared more about how the match made in musical heaven came to be.
Last week, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden saw Lizzo was headed to D.C. to perform, and tweeted at the artist about the library's collection of flutes and invited her to visit the library to play a few notes on the crystal instrument.
"Lizzo reverently took Madison’s crystal flute in hand and blew a few notes," the library said of Lizzo's Monday visit. "This isn’t easy, as the instrument is more than 200 years old. She blew a few more when she was in the Great Hall and Main Reading Room. Then, reaching for a more practical flute from the collection, she serenaded employees and a few researchers. It filled the space with music as sublime as the art and architecture."
When Lizzo asked to play the flute at her concert the next night, the Library Congress put a carefully crafted plan in place to keep the artifact safe, which involved having Capitol Police escort it to and from the library.
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