Beyoncé is removing an offensive term for disabled people from a new song on her record “Renaissance,” just weeks after rapper Lizzo also changed lyrics to remove the same word.
“The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” a spokeswoman for Beyoncé wrote in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday.
The song “Heated,” which was co-written with Canadian rapper Drake among several others, uses the word “spaz,” which is considered a derogatory reference to the medical term spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.
Lizzo also removed the word from one of her songs, “Grrrls,” in June after disability advocates complained about the lyrics. Lizzo said in a statement she never wanted to promote derogatory language.
Disability advocate Hannah Diviney, who pointed out Lizzo’s lyrics that lead to the change, wrote on Twitter that hearing the word again used by Beyoncé “felt like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community & the progress we tried to make with Lizzo.”
“So @Beyonce used the word ‘s—z’ in her new song Heated,” tweeted disability advocate Hannah Diviney, who penned a column for the Guardian about Lizzo’s and Beyoncé’s back-to-back offenses. “Feels like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community & the progress we tried to make with Lizzo. Guess I’ll just keep telling the whole industry to ‘do better’ until ableist slurs disappear from music.”
“It’s very hard to believe neither Beyoncé nor anyone in her team didn’t recognise the ableist slur when Lizzo very publicly made the same mistake a month ago (and graciously corrected it),” tweeted “Crippled” author Frances Ryan. “Exhausting.”