Lizzo reworks song to strip out an ableist lyric
Pop star Lizzo has rerecorded a song, stripping out an offending lyric that she learned was ableist.
“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song ‘GRRRLS,’ “ she said on Twitter Monday. “Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language.”
The song contained the line, as she sings over a Beastie Boys sample, “Hold my bag/ Do you see this s–-?/ I’m a sp-z/ I’m about to knock somebody out/ Yo, where my best friend?/ She the only one I know to talk me off the deep end.”
Disability advocates immediately lashed out on Twitter, informing her that the word “sp-z” is a slur, given that it’s actually a derogatory term for spasticity, a legitimate diagnosis accompanying painful conditions.
“Hey @lizzo my disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs),” tweeted writer and disability advocate Hannah Diviney. “Your new song makes me pretty angry + sad. ‘Sp-z’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
That and a number of other tweets aimed at the singer got through. She apologized and reworked the offending line so that “I’m a sp-z” has now been changed to “Hold me back,” according to The Guardian.
The song is another on her upcoming release “Special,” due out on July 15. The first single, “About Damn Time,” hit Billboard’s Top 10.
“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),” Lizzo wrote. “I’m proud to say there’s a new version of GRRLS with a lyric change. 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. Xoxo, Lizzo.”