Warning: This story contains language and content that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.
International pop star Lizzo has changed a lyric in her new single Grrrls following a backlash from disability activists online who complained the song included an ableist slur.
Grrrls was released by Lizzo, 34, last week and originally contained an offensive term for cerebral palsy (also known as spastic diplegia) in the song’s first verse.
In the song’s original opening, Lizzo sang, “Hold my bag, b—-/ Hold my bag/ Do you see this s—? I’ma spazz.”
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Many fans and disability activists voiced their disappointment online, explaining the term “spazz” should be removed, and the song re-recorded.
Disability activist Hannah Diviney, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, was one of many who tweeted Lizzo, calling for the lyric change.
“‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy” Diviney wrote. “It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
The singer clearly took the criticism seriously, as she announced Monday that she has released a new version of the song without the “harmful word.”
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The reworked Grrrls track now includes the words “hold me back” in place of the offensive lyric.
“Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo wrote in a statement posted to social media.
“As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me so I understand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally),” she continued.
She claimed the lyric change was a “result of me listening and taking action.”
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“As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world,” she concluded before signing off the statement.
Grrrls has been updated on several streaming platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.
Fans and activists rejoiced online at the lyric change, grateful to be heard by the singer.
According to the government of Canada, a diagnosis of cerebral palsy “is accompanied by a substantial economic and social burden.”
CanChild, an Ontario-based research centre for the study of children and youth with developmental conditions claims one in every 400 Canadians is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, making it the most common physical disability diagnosed in children.
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