Singer Changes ‘Ableist’ Lyric After Backlash

By Raph_PH - LizzoBrixt06Nov19-20, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85188946

Pop singer Lizzo said she would change a lyric in her new song after she was blasted on social media for promoting a derogatory slur.

 

“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song ‘GRRRLS,’” she wrote on Monday. “Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language.”

“As a fat Black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me so I overstand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally),” she added. 

 

“I’m proud to say there’s a new version of GRRRLS with a lyric change. This is the result of me listening and taking action,” Lizzo concluded. “As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”

 

The lyrics of the original version of “GRRRLS” included the use of the word “spaz,” which originates from the term “spastic,” which is defined by Collins Dictionary as someone “born with a disability which makes it difficult for them to control their muscles, especially in their arms and legs.” 

 

In the United Kingdom, the word is used as offensive slang for someone who is incompetent. Fans freaked out on social media after the song was released last week. 

 

“Hey (Lizzo), my disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs),” tweeted Hannah Diviney, “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.” 

 

The disability activist was thrilled by the musician’s decision to change the language in her new single.

“I’m going to cry,” she wrote in a follow-up. “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.”

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