Last week, singer songwriter Lizzo released her new track, “Grrrls.” However, this new song immediately drew controversy for its use of the word “spaz” in the lyrics. While “spaz” does have a slang meaning referring to random, flailing motions with one’s body, it also has a known usage as an ableist slur against those who suffer from Cerebral Palsy.
“Hey Lizzo, my disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs),” disibility advocate Hannah Diviney wrote on Twitter. “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.”
“I’m disappointed in Lizzo for using the word ‘[email protected]’ in her new song ‘Grrrls,’” tweeted autism advocate Callum Stephen. “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.”
In response to these concerns, Lizzo released an updated cut of “Grrrls” with the lyric replaced. In a statement on her Twitter, she assured that no harm was intended, and that she was more than happy to correct her mistake.
— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) June 13, 2022
“Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo wrote. “As a Black fat 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). 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 wanting to see in the world.”