She was joined at the Thompson-Boling Arena by a large group of drag queens, including Drag Race alumni Kandy Muse, Aquaria, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, during her song "Everybody’s Gay."
The bill, first passed in March, effectively bans drag performances in public places and in front of children, with first-time violators facing a misdemeanor charge. On April 1 it was temporarily blocked by a federal judge after an LGBTQ+ theater company filed a lawsuit claiming the statute violates the First Amendment.
The day after her Knoxville show Lizzo shared footage from the previous night, including a clip of her talking about why it mattered to her to speak out.
"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. “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?"
Lizzo joins a growing number of artists to stage protests against the pending law. On March 20, artists including Hayley Williams, Julien Baker, Brittany Howard, and Maren Morris performed at Love Rising, a benefit concert in Nashville for LGBTQIA+ programs and services in Tennessee. The previous week, Yo La Tengo performed in drag during a tour stop in Nashville. Madonna, meanwhile, added a Tennessee date to her upcoming "Celebration" tour. She will be joined by Drag Race champion Bob The Drag Queen.
Thumbnail image via publicist.