Lizzo on Monday said she is changing the lyrics to “Grrrls” following criticism from many in the disabled community that the single contains a word that is considered an “ableist slur.”
The song, which was released Friday and is part of Lizzo’s upcoming album “Special,” has a lyric that uses the word “spaz,” a slur against people with disabilities.
“It’s 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,” the three-time Grammy winner wrote in an Instagram post.
“As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hateful words used against me so I understand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case unintentionally). I’m proud to say there’s a new version of GRRRLS with a lyric change.”
Fans pointed out that the word originates from spastic.
“Someone who is spastic is born with a disability which makes it difficult for them to control their muscles, especially in their arms and legs,” according to Collins Dictionary. “Most people now refer to someone with this disability as having cerebral palsy.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, “in general, cerebral palsy causes impaired movement associated with exaggerated reflexes, floppiness or spasticity of the limbs and trunk, unusual posture, involuntary movements, unsteady walking, or some combination of these.”
Another person who has Cerebral Palsy called on Lizzo to “do better.”
“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.” the Twitter user wrote. S–z “doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
The term has “been used to hurt me and people I care about many times,” another user wrote. “It’s a slur. It’s unacceptable. Don’t say it.”
Some said they were disappointed in Lizzo for the word choice, given that she often uses her platform to provide positivity to others.
“There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022. As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better,” one user wrote.
“I’d like to add that this is not a hate tweet; it’s a call for a talented person in a position of power who knows how to use their platform for good to approach ableism with greater sensitivity and apologise for their mistake. I’m not here to cancel Lizzo, but to inspire change,” the person added.
Others called for Lizzo to remove the word from the song.
“It’s a slur and really offensive to the disabled community,” one user wrote. “From a disappointed fan.”
In her Instagram post, Lizzo wrote that the change “is a 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,” she wrote, before signing off “Xoxo, Lizzo.”