After being called out by fans and disability advocates for using ableist language in her latest single "GRRRLS," Lizzo has released a new version of the track with changed lyrics.
“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song “GRRRLS.” Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo wrote in a statement. “As a fat Black woman in America, I’ve had many hateful words used against me so I understand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case unintentionally)."
The pop singer drew criticism for her use of the word "sp*z," which is derogatory slang for "spastic," in the line “I’m a sp*z/ I’m about to knock somebody out.” The updated version of the song sees the lyric changed to “Hold me back/ I’m about to knock somebody out" with Lizzo pledging to be "part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”
While the use of the slur has become less commonplace than it once was, thanks in part to the work of disability advocates spreading awareness of the word's ableist connotations, the term has been used in a derogatory way in relation to people with cerebral palsy and other conditions that involve muscle spasms or involuntary muscle movements. Hannah Diviney was one of the many to call out Lizzo's use of the slur over the weekend, tweeting at her "my disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs) your new song makes me pretty angry + sad. ‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
Following Lizzo's apology and revised version of the song, Diviney thanked the singer, writing, “Thank you so much for hearing us Lizzo and for understanding that this was only ever meant gently and being open to learning, it honestly means the world. You’re a real true ally.”
\u201cI\u2019m going to cry \ud83d\ude2d Thank you so much for hearing us Lizzo and for understanding that this was only ever meant gently and being open to learning, it honestly means the world \u2764\ufe0f. You\u2019re a real true ally\u201d— Hannah Diviney (@Hannah Diviney) 1655160961
Lizzo's new album, Special, is set to drop July 15.
Photo via Getty/ Anna Webber
- "Drag Race" Winner Symone Surprises Lizzo at Her Birthday - PAPER ›
- What's Going On With Ari Lennox, Lizzo and the Soul Train Awards ... ›
- Lizzo Celebrates Weight Gain - PAPER ›
- Lizzo References Historic Black Painting in SNL Performance ›