Music for Good

Celebs Band Together to Fight Tennessee’s Drag Ban With a Benefit Concert

· Updated on March 27, 2023

Some of music’s best are banding together to fight Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s heinous drag ban with good tunes. Love Rising, a benefit concert held in response to Governor Lee’s ban on drag performances on public property and in front of minors, will be held in Nashville, TN at the Bridgewater Arena on March 20. 

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Artists like Maren Morris, Brittany Howard, Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Amanda Shires, Hozier, Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow, Joy Oladokun, Yola. Allison Russell, The Rainbow Coalition Band, and more are slated to perform. Love Rising’s site states that this concert will be “a celebration of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and we love to see it. 

Proceeds from the benefit concert will go to various Tennessee-based LGBTQ+ organizations, such as the Tennessee Equality Project, OUTMemphis, inclusion tennessee, and The Tennessee Pride Chamber.

“As a queer, intersectional artist and mother, raising my child in Nashville, it’s important to me to support these wonderful Tennessee LGBTQIA+ advocacy organizations, working so hard to build bridges, reduce harm and promote equality for all Tennesseans,” Allison Russell said in a statement.

On March 2, Governor Lee signed HB 9 and SB 3, which makes any person who engages in an “adult cabaret performance” on public property or in front minors liable for a criminal offense. The definition of “adult cabaret performance” includes: drag performers, topless dancers, go-go dancers, and similar entertainers. 

A first-time offense leads to a misdemeanor, while a subsequent offense results in a Class E felony. Class E felonies in Tennessee can lead to a prison sentence of 1 to 6 years and a fine of up to $3000. 

While Tennessee is the first state to ban drag, multiple states, such as Oklahoma, Utah, North Dakota, Idaho, Kentucky, and Montana, are considering similar legislation. Additionally, the ACLU reported that more than 388 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in 2023 already. But more people are coming out to combat this legislation and uplift the LGBTQ+ community. 

“LGBTQIA+ contributions and creativity are foundational to every genre of modern song and arts performance,” added Russell. “I think it speaks volumes that so many in our community are feeling the same call to support, celebrate and uplift!”

We think so too.

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