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.
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.