Lizzo Apologizes Update: Lizzo Gets Accused of Ableism for Lyric Choice in Latest Song “Grrrls”

UPDATE: 6/14/22 

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Lizzo responded to the rampant criticism on Twitter Monday (June 13), fuelled by her use of the word “spaz” in her new song “Grrrls,” by releasing a new version of the track that removes the word entirely.

“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song ‘GRRRLS,’” she wrote on Twitter. “Let me 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 overstand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally).”

She continued, “I’m proud to say there’s a new version of GRRRLS with a lyric change. This is a 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.”

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Original Post 6/13/22:

Lizzo revealed a snippet of her latest song “Grrrls” last week (June 10) to great excitement.

However, fan reaction has quickly turned negative following the full track’s release due to the fact that one of the lines contains the word “spaz.”

The full line reads: Hold my bag, bitch/ Hold my bag / Do you see this shit/ I’m a spaz / 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.

Fans flocked to social media over the weekend to call out the singer for her word choice saying it was derogatory towards people with disabilities and promoted ableism, defined as discrimination in favor of able-bodied people.

Twitter user @hannah_diviney spoke of her own experience with Cerebral Palsy saying, “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. ‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”

Another user, @itsme_eabha, expressed their disappointment by saying, “Nice. New @lizzo song pops up on my discover playlist, where she uses the word spaz in the first 25 seconds. Bar is truly in hell, 2022 and still asking people not to use slurs at Lizzo’s big age. #Ableism.”

https://twitter.com/itsme_eabha/status/1535619845898788867?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1535619845898788867%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.billboard.com%2Fmusic%2Fmusic-news%2Flizzo-grrrls-lyrics-backlash-abelist-slur-1235086460%2F

Elsewhere, there were calls for the “Juice” singer to remove the word altogether to keep the word out of the mainstream media while others say the song has done enough damage already and are boycotting it entirely.

The opposite reaction is slowly starting to crop up around Twitter as well, with other users saying the backlash was unwarranted. They are arguing that the word is not a widely known slur and that past uses of “spaz” have not been treated as harshly.

@jmhenner called the comments made by other Twitter users hypocritical, saying, “folks complaining about Lizzo’s ableist phrasing like “Wow she’s really deaf to our concerns. Her silence is deafening.”

Another user @@blkunicornrose argued the word is not as a widely known slur in the U.S. as it is abroad so it would track that Lizzo didn’t realize its connotation.

“Lizzo is not a ‘global artist.’ She is known globally. Huge difference. Bc Lizzo is globally popular, it does not mean that she knew that ‘spazz’ was a derogatory term. It’s not a slur in the US esp among Black ppl where Lizzo is from & lives so to assume she knew is misleading,” they wrote.

Lizzo has not yet commented on the song despite the drama across Twitter. The song will likely see a different chart placement than her previous single “About Damn Time,” which has found sweeping success around the world thanks to a viral Tik Tok dance trend. Both will feature on her forthcoming studio album, Special, slated for release on July 15 via Nice Life Recording Company/Atlantic Records.

Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage

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