Lizzo responds to fans demands for her to 'do better' and remove slur from new song

scandal 14/06/2022

Lizzo has re-recorded her new single after coming under fire for including an ableist slur in the lyrics. 

The words to 'Grrrls' include the line: "Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this shit? I’m a sp*z." 

The word is widely considered an offensive and outdated way to refer to a person with cerebral palsy, as well as having other meanings. 

It comes from the word "spastic", which according to some dictionary definitions, can be used to describe an 'incompetent or uncoordinated person" or someone who has lost "physical or emotional control". 

In a statement addressing the controversy, Lizzo wrote: "It's been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song. Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language." 

After the song's release, fans who live with conditions like Cerebal Palsy tweeted at the singer, asking her to "do better" and explaining the negative impact the word has. 

"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," one Twitter user wrote.

"‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better." 

"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," another said. 

Some fans leapt to Lizzo's defence, insisting the word didn't have the same meaning in the US - but those in the know shut down those claims. 

"The slang literally comes from the word spastic which relates to involuntary muscle spasms in people with cerebral palsy," one response read. 

"It's okay to not know the origins of the word and to not know it's offensive, but it's also important to listen to marginalised communities."

Lizzo continued in her statement: "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)." 

"I'm proud to say there's a new version of GRRRLS with a lyric change," she added. 

"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."