Lizzo removes ‘harmful’ ability slurs from new song GRRRLS after criticism | Lizzo

Lizzo has removed an offensive term for people with disabilities from her latest song after days of public criticism, saying she “never wants[ed] promote derogatory language”.

GRRRLS, the final track from the musician’s upcoming album Special, was released on Friday. In the opening verse, the pop star – who has become famous for her lyrics championing self-acceptance and self-love – used a derogatory term for cerebral palsy, also known as spastic diplegia.

The song was almost immediately criticized by fans and disability advocates, with tweets and TikToks explaining the history and offensive nature of the term shared and liked hundreds of thousands of times.

Hey @lizzo 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.

— Hannah Diviney (@hannah_diviney) June 12, 2022

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Hey @lizzo my disability, cerebral palsy, is literally classified as spastic diplegia (where spasticity refers to endless painful tightness in my legs) your new song makes me pretty angry + sad. “Spaz” does not mean panicked or crazy. It’s an ableist insult. It’s 2022. Do better.

— Hannah Diviney (@hannah_diviney) June 12, 2022

I’m disappointed in @lizzo for using the word “sp@z” in her new song “Grrrls”. There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022. As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.

— Callum Stephen (He/Him) (@AutisticCallum_) June 11, 2022

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/AutisticCallum_/status/1535730458239111168?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1535730459761692672%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es2_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.buzzfeed.com%2Flarryfitzmaurice%2Flizzo-grrrls-ableist-slur-backlash”,”id”:”1535730458239111168″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”55d1f2ee-31a8-4815-9869-aea265cded44″}}”>

I’m disappointed with @lizzo for using the word “sp@z” in his new song “Grrrls”. There’s no excuse for using an ableist slur in a song in 2022. As someone who stands up for women, tall people, and others who are treated poorly by society, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better. .

— Callum Stephen (He/Him) (@AutisticCallum_) June 11, 2022

Hey @lizzo please remove the word “spaz” from your new song because it's a slur and really offensive to the disabled community

From a disappointed fan 😔💔

— Shelby 🖤 (@Shelbykinsxo) June 10, 2022

\n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/Shelbykinsxo/status/1535398153297461250?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1535398153297461250%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.billboard.com%2Fmusic%2Fmusic-news%2Flizzo-grrrls-lyrics-backlash-abelist-slur-1235086460%2F”,”id”:”1535398153297461250″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”e9c6839d-43b2-4aab-9221-31bd38e07b4b”}}”>

Hey @lizzo please remove the word “spaz” from your new song as it is an insult and truly offensive to the disability community

From a disappointed fan 😔💔

— Shelby 🖤 (@Shelbykinsxo) June 10, 2022

Lizzo issued a written public apology on Monday.

“It has 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,” she wrote. As fat black woman in America, I’ve had a lot of hurtful words used against me, so I understand the power that words can have (whether intentionally, or in my case, unintentionally.)”

She said she was proud to release a new version of the song with changed lyrics.

“This is the result of my listening and my doing,” she wrote. “As an influential artist, I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”

As the song had yet to be released as a physical purchase, the previous version of GRRRLS was replaced on streaming services and digital stores with the new lyric “hold me back”.

Special is slated for release in July.

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