Former band nerd Lizzo was absolutely radiant with joy earlier this week when she got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a 200-year-old crystal flute that belonged to former President James Madison. The rapper beamed when the Library of Congress briefly loaned her the instrument on Tuesday night during Lizzo’s show in Washington, D.C., after the flute gifted to Madison for his second inauguration in 1813 got a proper VIP police escort to the venue.
Conservative commentator Candace Owens, however, claimed that the way Lizzo played the historical relic offended her. “They’re giving her something that means a lot. The way and manner in which they gave it to her and the way and the manner in which she used it offends me, I’m not going to lie,” Owens said while frowning and shaking her head during a clip from her Candace show on Thursday (Sept. 29).
“No, she’s not making history here, she’s defiling history,” Owens added. “It’s like spraying graffiti on a historical building and going, ‘Oh, it’s art.’ No, it’s not art. We’re not gonna call it art. We’re not gonna call it making history. But she doesn’t see that. She thinks that when these companies, these organizations reached out to her with these opportunities, it’s because they love her. And in reality, the reason [is] because they hate and want to corrupt the people that follow her. That don’t want more people to make it out like Lizzo did.”
Owens’ claims came after the Library of Congress posted a series of tweets on Wednesday in which they clarified that not only is it a routine, necessary practice to loan out historic instruments, but also that Lizzo came in beforehand to practice and take a tour of the collection featuring more than 173 million objects. “For those concerned about the flute: Music Division curators made sure it could be played without damage,” read one tweet from the Library. “This sort of thing is not all that unusual, in fact. Some of the Library’s priceless instruments were donated with the stipulation that they remain functional & be played.”
Another tweet showed Lizzo practicing for Monday night’s show in the Library’s Great Hall to a cheering audience, who watched her trill some crystal-clear notes on a similar flute before bending over and busting out a mini-twerk to the crowd’s delight.
“A flute @lizzo played in the Main Reading Room Monday (with permission from some lucky researchers who were there!) looks similar to the crystal one she had at her concert, but is actually plexiglass. It is also very rare & was manufactured when the material was first invented,” read another LoC tweet. That wasn’t her only practice session, either. The Library also noted that in addition to her dry-run, Lizzo also visited the Library and played a number of other flutes in their collection, the largest in the world.
In case you missed it, during Monday’s show, reps from the Library took the flute out of its protective case and handed it to Lizzo, who busted out some notes before twerking and excitedly telling the crowd, “B—h, I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute from the 1800s. We just made history tonight.”
Owens — known for her stridently conservative views and public swipes at everyone from Cardi B, Kim Kardashian, Harry Styles and Chrissy Teigen — made it clear that she likes Lizzo’s music and thinks the “About Damn Time” MC is “tremendously” talented. “I just wish that she would contribute positively. I wish that she would understand that there are people with nefarious goals that recognize her as a talented individual,” Owens said cryptically about whom she considers unnamed bad actors.
“And they are using her to sell bad ideas to the rest of society because what they’re actually after is to enslave the rest of you,” she continued, before going on to claim that artists such as Lizzo and Cardi B are “pawns in the game” of alleged nefarious figures she did not name. “They do not want everybody to be productive. They do not want everybody to wake up every day and go to work and to make a lot of money because that is not how it works.”
Spokespeople for Owens, Lizzo and the LoC had not returned requests for comment at press time.
See the Library of Congress’ tweets, some behind-the-scene pics and videos from Lizzo’s private tour and Owens’ segment below.