Lizzo Showcases Several Drag Queens During All-Ages Tennessee Concert, Protesting New State Law Restricting ‘Adult Cabaret’ Performances In Front Of Children
Marcus Brandt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Grammy-winning singer Lizzo protested a new Tennessee law intended to protect children from sexually explicit “adult cabaret” performances, otherwise known as drag shows, by featuring a group of drag queens on stage at her all-ages Knoxville concert on Friday.

During her performance at the Knoxville at Thompson-Boling Arena, which kicked off the second leg of The Special 2our last weekend, Lizzo featured several performers who were alumni of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, including Aquaria, Vanessa Vanjie, Asia O’Hara, Kandy Muse.

“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 during her performance, which kicked off her second leg of The Special 2our tour on Friday in Knoxville 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?”

Lizzo’s beef with the law comes after the Tennessee General Assembly voted this year to protect children from sexually explicit performances, which bans adults from impersonating the opposite sex in public or near where children could see it while appealing to prurient interests — that is, engaging in a sexually suggestive performance.

“Why would I not create a safe space in Tennessee where we can celebrate drag entertainers and celebrate our differences?” Lizzo said.

“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.”

In the last year, footage has emerged from around the country, including in Texas, that has appeared to show children present at sexually explicit drag shows, prompting some lawmakers to introduce legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) told The Daily Wire that he would introduce a law to protect children from “sexually explicit” performances last year. 

“I think we would all agree that some of the video we have seen recently of some of these drag shows that were quote-unquote family-friendly were anything but that,” Johnson said. “And if I had attended one of those with my kids, I would have been mortified, and I would have wanted someone to be prosecuted for engaging in that kind of entertainment in front of my kids.” 

The law came before Parker after Friends of George’s, a self-described “LGBTQ theatre company” based in Memphis, filed a suit challenging the law. Several upcoming shows by the company include “Drag Rocks” and “The Dragnificent Variety Show: The Gay Ole Opry.”

Following the state’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee signing the legislation into law, a federal judge in Tennessee issued a temporary injunction against the law, saying it was too vague and a potential violation of the First Amendment.

Democrat Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told The Associated Press that he does not mind that the judge placed an injunction on the law. 

“There has been much concern and confusion about the law from the community,” he said. “This will allow the court to clarify the scope, application, and constitutionality of the statute. It’s important to understand the scope of this law so that it doesn’t have a harmful effect on constitutionally protected expression.”

Leif Le Mahieu contributed to this report.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Lizzo Showcases Several Drag Queens During All-Ages Tennessee Concert, Protesting New State Law Restricting ‘Adult Cabaret’ Performances In Front Of Children