Despite all the hate in the world, drag performers persevere.
Lizzo stopped by Knoxville, Tennessee over the weekend on her Special Tour. While onstage, she told the audience that "people on the internet" told her not to come to Tennessee amid widespread anti-drag sentiment in the state, to which she responded: "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?! Why would I not create a safe space in Tennessee where we can celebrate drag entertainers?" She added that through her tour, she hoped that the crowd could "celebrate our differences. And celebrate fat, black women!"
\u201cYou have my heart Knoxville\n\nThank you for sharing a safe space with me \ud83d\udc96\u201d— FOLLOW @YITTY (@FOLLOW @YITTY) 1682185234
Lizzo then shouted out the people in Tennessee fighting back against the drag ban. "What people are doing in Tennessee 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."
The one-time RuPaul's Drag Race judge then brought out a literal cavalcade of drag queens onstage with her, which included some familiar faces: Vanessa Vanjie Matteo, Aquaria, Asia O'Hara, Kandy Muse and more.
Lizzo included the full credits for the drag performers who she brought onstage in a follow-up post, saying, "I WANNA TAKE THE TIME AND THANK EACH & EVERY ONE OF THESE INCREDIBLE ENTERTAINERS."
In the replies to Lizzo’s post, RuPaul's Drag Race winner Aquaria left a gracious comment for the singer:
Thank you so much for the platform for me and the drag race girls and especially for uplifting the queens on Tennessee! Those ladies are all so strong and brave and I know tonight was definitely the best of a tricky situation for everyone. Thanks for shedding light for our friends who definitely need our hand these days. We appreciate it ❤️🙌👏❤️
Race Chaser host and MOM Podcasts co-founder Willam also commented that Lizzo was "one of the few celebrities out there to speak up!"
Earlier this month, a judge temporarily blocked Senate Bill 3, widely known as the "drag ban," until May 26. The restraining order came after local drag theater group Friends of St. George's filed a lawsuit against the state for violating a right to free speech. In the order, Judge Thomas L. Parker wrote: "The Court is mindful that a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) is an extraordinary remedy, and that enjoining enforcement of the Statute precludes, or at least delays, the Tennessee General Assembly’s legislative act. The Court does not take such actions lightly."
Photo via Jim Dyson/Getty
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