After the lyrics of her single ‘Grrrls‘ were criticised for being ‘ableist’, Lizzo has released a new version of the song, wherein she has dropped the controversial line.
Instead, it now says: “Hold me back”. Previously, there was a slur, which is understood to have been derived from the world ‘spastic’.
A spastic person is someone who is born with a disability which makes it difficult for them to control their muscles, especially in their arms and legs, the Collins Dictionary states. It adds that since the word has a negative (read: offensive) connotation, “most people now refer to someone with this disability as having cerebral palsy“.
The American singer has had to face backlash for including the derogatory term in the original song, with disability activists calling her ‘ableist’ — that is, someone who may potentially discriminate against people with disabilities and/or people who are perceived to be disabled.
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
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
Lizzo has since released a written public apology. Taking to social media, she wrote: “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. As a fat black woman in America, I have had many hurtful words used against me so I understand the power words can have (whether intentionally, or in my case, unintentionally.)”
She added that there is now a new version of the song, with a change in lyrics. “This is the result of me listening and taking action. As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world,” the 34-year-old wrote.
‘Grrrls‘ is a track from the musician’s upcoming album ‘Special‘, which releases July.