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Beyoncé confirms she will remove a lyric from her new album, 'Renaissance,' following criticism that it's 'ableist' and 'deeply offensive'

Business Insider India logo Business Insider India 01-08-2022 Ayomikun Adekaiyero
Beyoncé confirms she will remove a lyric from her new album, 'Renaissance,' following criticism that it's 'ableist' and 'deeply offensive' © Robert Gauthier/Getty Images Beyoncé confirms she will remove a lyric from her new album, 'Renaissance,' following criticism that it's 'ableist' and 'deeply offensive'
  • Beyoncé said she'd change a lyric in her song "Heated" from her new album, "Renaissance."
  • Its use of a word — which was changed in a Lizzo song in June — prompted backlash.

Beyoncé confirmed she would remove a lyric from a track on her new album, "Renaissance," after disability charities and activists called it "ableist" and "offensive."

Fans and activists criticized the use of the word "spaz" in the song "Heated." The word has been used to refer in a derogatory way to people with disabilities, especially people with cerebral palsy. In African American Vernacular English, a dialect of English created and used in Black communities, the word means to "go crazy" or "fight."

In a statement to Insider, a representative for the Grammy-winning singer said the lyric would be changed.

"The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced," the statement said.

In June, Lizzo apologized and rereleased the song "Grrrls" with new lyrics after she received backlash for including the same word in the song.

Some people questioned whether Beyoncé saw the backlash to Lizzo two months earlier.

Hannah Diviney, a disability advocate, wrote in an opinion article in The Guardian that Beyoncé's status as a culturally significant singer "doesn't excuse her use of ableist language."

"I'm so tired. Disabled people deserve better. I don't want to have this conversation again," she wrote.

Warren Kirwan, a media manager at the UK disability equality charity Scope, told Insider that removing the word matters because the use of the word can reinforce negative attitudes toward people with disabilities

A survey of 4,015 adults with disabilities in England and Wales conducted in May and June by Scope and Opinium Research found that about nine out of 10 respondents who reported having experienced negative attitudes and behaviors said it had a personal impact on them.

"It's appalling that one of the world's biggest stars has chosen to include this deeply offensive term," Kirwan said.

"Just weeks ago, Lizzo received a huge backlash from fans who felt hurt and let down after she used the same abhorrent language. Thankfully she did the right thing and rerecorded the song. It's hard to believe that could have gone unnoticed by Beyoncé's team."

Kirwan added: "Words matter because they reinforce the negative attitudes disabled people face every day and which impact on every aspect of disabled people's lives. Beyoncé has long been a champion of inclusivity and equality, so we'd urge her to remove this offensive lyric."

Another UK disability charity, Sense, tweeted that it was "disappointing" to see another artist using the word after the incident with Lizzo.

"Hoping Beyonce follows Lizzo's example and changes the track," the organization said. "We need more education to improve awareness of disability."

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