Beyonce Is Removing Lyric Considered Ableist

Song from 'Renaissance' will be re-recorded
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2022 12:15 PM CDT
Beyonce Is Removing Lyric Considered Ableist
Beyonce appears at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, on March 14, 2021.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

(Newser) – Beyonce's new album Renaissance is getting a lot of love—but disability campaigners were dismayed by one song's lyrics. In "Heated," co-written with Drake, Beyonce sings "Spazzin’ on that a--, spazz on that a--," which drew a backlash from critics who called the reference to the term "spastic" ableist and offensive, Variety reports. Beyonce's publicist says the lyric will be changed and the song will be recorded again. "The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced," the star's team said in a statement.

In June, singer Lizzo apologized and re-recorded her track "Grrrls" after she was criticized for using the same word. "Let’s make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language. As a fat Black woman in America, I've had many hurtful words used against me, so I understand the power words can have," Lizzo said at the time. "I'm tired and frustrated that we're having this conversation again so soon after we got such a meaningful and progressive response from Lizzo," disability advocate Hannah Diviney—who first flagged Lizzo's use of the word—tells the BBC.

At the Guardian, Diviney writes that Beyonce's "commitment to storytelling musically and visually is unparalleled, as is her power to have the world paying attention to the narratives, struggles, and nuanced lived experience of being a Black woman." But it doesn't excuse her use of ableist language, or the fact that "teams of people involved in making this album somehow missed all the noise the disabled community made only six weeks ago when Lizzo did the same thing," Diviney writes. (Read more Beyonce stories.)

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