Only a few days have passed since Beyoncé’s newest album, Renaissance, changed our lives. But the release wasn’t completely without controversy. The Grammy winner is now facing backlash over a lyric that contains an ableist slur.
The disabled community called out the pop star’s song “Heated,” which includes the lyrics, “spazzing on that ass, spaz on that ass.”
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, in the U.S., spaz is popular slang meaning “go crazy,” which is its intent within the lyrics of “Heated.” But the word, while generally used to mean the latter domestically, is an ableist insult in the U.K. and other countries (including to some people in the U.S.) since it refers to the medical condition spastic paralysis. In a statement sent to Insider, a rep for Beyoncé confirmed that the lyric will be changed. “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” the statement said.
Back in June, Lizzo released the song “Grrrls,” which also contained the word. Lizzo responded to the backlash promptly. Instead of doubling down, the singer changed the lyrics to the song and posted a statement on her social media addressing her mistake and subsequent correction.
“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song, ‘GRRRLs,’” Lizzo said in the statement. “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 [understand] the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally). As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world,” Lizzo said.
Beyoncé hasn’t yet debuted the new lyric, but we’re guessing it’s going to keep us dancing.