News & Politics

Britney Spears and DC: A History

With her musical launching here this fall, a quick look back.

Photograph by Randee St. Nicolas/RCA Records.

With #FreeBritney in the news and a musical in the works, here’s a look at some of the pop star’s DC history.


July 6, 1999 | Hello, Washington!

Photograph of CD courtesy of Amazon.

A 17-year-old Spears makes her DC debut to a sellout crowd at DAR Constitution Hall as part of the tour for her . . . Baby One More Time album.


September 4, 2003 | A racy kickoff

Photograph of Britney on the Mall courtesy of Alamy.

Stripping down to booty shorts to sing “I’m a Slave 4 U,” she performs on the Mall for an NFL event. Some viewers are irked by the Pepsi-sponsored concert, and lawmakers respond by barring events on the Mall featuring commercial advertising.


July 2008 | Campaign kerfuffle

Photograph of Obama courtesy of wikimedia commons.

After a John McCainad uses a Spears image to suggest Barack Obama is nothing but a celebrity, an Obama spokesperson retorts, “On a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Senator McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or some might say, ‘Oops! He did it again.’ ”


July 9, 2020 | Petitioning Trump

Photograph by Vacclav via iStock.

Pro-Spears activists garner more than 100,000 signatures in a single week for their effort to end her conservatorship, asking the Trump administration to “please look into this case.” Trump never publicly responds.


March 8, 2021 | Gaetz gets involved

House Judiciary Committee members Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan present a request for the committee to hold a hearing on abuse in court-ordered conservatorships, highlighting Britney’s situation as an example. No such hearing has yet been announced.


July 14, 2021 | #FB in DC

Photograph by Jane Recker.

A few dozen #FreeBritney advocates picket in front of the Lincoln Memorial to show their support, holding signs with such messages as “Not a Girl Not Yet a Free Woman.”


November 30, 2021 | Spears meets Shakespeare

DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company will stage a pre-Broadway run of Once Upon a One More Time, a musical based on the songs of someone who’s suffered plenty of slings and arrows.

This article appears in the September 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

Don’t Miss Another Big Story—Get Our Weekend Newsletter

Our most popular stories of the week, sent every Saturday.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.