Lizzo Thumbs Nose At Tennessee’s Drag Show Ban, Invites Drag Queens Onstage At Knoxville Concert

Watch out for this big grrrl, Tennessee lawmakers.

Lizzo began the second leg of her The Special 2our with a show in Knoxville on Friday and proceeded to thumb her nose at the state’s new law banning drag performances. The four-time Grammy winner and reality TV host brought onstage a host of drag performers, including several who have competed on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Among them were including Aquaria, Asia O’Hara, Kandy Muse, Vanessa Vanjie and others. 

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“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 onstage at Thompson-Boling Arena. “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?”

She also told the crowd: “What people in Tennessee are doing is giving hope, so thank you so much for standing up for your rights, protecting each other and holding the people accountable who should be protecting us.”

Watch a portions of her speech and the performance below.

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Commonly known as the Tennessee drag ban, the new law forbids “adult cabaret entertainment” on public property or in locations where it could be viewed by a minor — defining the term as as “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators.” Among other criticisms, opponents say the legislation’s vague wording leaves open the possibility that theater works such as Rent, Kinky Boots and Mrs. Doubtfire could fall under the ban.

It was signed in March by GOP Gov. Bill Lee, but, a federal judge in Tennessee temporarily blocked its implementation, citing First Amendment issues. The Volunteer State is the first to pass such a law. 

A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating)

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