Lizzo joins the next crew of artists to perform with, and celebrate drag artists in Tennessee. In the Knoxville, Tennessee stop of her concert, The Special Tour, the chart topping musician brought out a bevy of drag artists to share the stage with her.
There were plenty of drag performers on the stage, showing love to the audience and serving incredible looks. Lizzo shared multiple Instagram posts documenting the Knoxville concert experience. One post showed a video of the drag performers trailing behind Lizzo on-stage with the caption, “Thank you to these beautiful drag queens for showing their pride in Tennessee.”
Another IG post highlighted all of the drag artists that performed with her. Those present, out of the 19 performers, include RuPaul’s Drag Race alums Aquaria, Kandy Muse, Asia O’Hara and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo. The post that showed them all was captioned with, “I wanna take the time and thank each & every one of these incredible entertainers.”
During part of her performance, Lizzo shared her reasons for performing in Tennessee, despite being encouraged not to, in light of recent drag bans. In a video posted to Instagram, Lizzo said on-stage, “In light of recent and tragic events, I was told by people on the internet, ‘Cancel your shows in Tennessee. Don’t go to Tennessee.’ Their reason was valid, but why would I not come to the people who need to hear this message the most? The people who need to feel this release the most?”
Lizzo has a large queer fanbase. Her fans, affectionately called “Lizzbians”, loved all of the LGBTQ+ support from the “About Damn Time” singer. When Lizzo finished her speech with, “Why would I not create a safe space in Tennessee where we can celebrate drag entertainers and celebrate our differences?”, she was met with roaring applause.
Tennessee was the first state to introduce drag bands in the United States. While the bill signed by Governor Bill Lee was temporarily blocked by a federal judge, other anti-LGBTQ+ bills across the country continue to be drafted and presented. According to the ACLU, 469 LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced across the country.
In response to the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills, various musicians have performed with drag performers in protest. In Nashville, Tennessee, various country and rock artists like Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Alabama Shakes Brittany Howard, and Maren Morris performed in the Love Rising benefit concert in direct opposition to Tennessee anti-drag bills. Morris even went as far as daring the police to arrest her for introducing her two-year-old child to a drag queen. Whereas in Austin, Texas, Kelsea Ballerini hosted the CMT Music Awards and performed her song “If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too)” alongside RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Manila Luzon, Jan Sport, Olivia Lux, and Kennedy Davenport.
Artists like Ballerini, Morris, and Lizzo are standing up for the LGBTQ+ community and standing up against these heinous, anti-LGBTQ+ bills.