The Grammy-award-winning singer recently changed the lyrics to her new song “GRRRLS” after some fans from the disabled community criticized her for using an “ableist slur.”
The song, which will appear on Lizzo’s forthcoming album “Special,” contains the word “spaz” in one verse, an offensive term often used against people with cerebral palsy or similar neurological disabilities.
“Hold my bag, bitch/ Hold my bag/ Do you see this s***?/I’m a sp*z/I’m about to knock somebody out/ Yo, where my best friend?/ She the only one I know to talk me off the deep end,” reads the original words to Lizzo’s hit track “Grrrls.” But following its airway play, people began speaking out against the song claiming it included ableist language in the word “sp*z”
“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,” read one Twitter user.
“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,” said another Twitter user.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the congenital disorder can impact an individual’s muscle tone or movement due to “exaggerated reflexes, floppiness or spasticity of the limbs.” Colloquially “spaz” is used as a way to say “go crazy”, especially in AAVE but considering that it derives from the word “spastic” which is medically used to describe spasms, many deem it offensive. A member of the Cerebral Palsy community urged the singer to “do better.”
The word spaz is reportedly often used as a slur to reference someone with cerebral palsy. The musician immediately responded to the backlash, apologizing for the inclusion of the word.
“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song “GRRRLS,” Lizzo began in a social media statement. “I never want to promote the 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 went on to say that she is excited about the new version of the song, which includes a lyric change.
Prior to Lizzo changing the lyrics, several fans expressed outrage on social media over the use of the term.