Lizzo is getting criticized by disability activists after using a word that is being termed ableist and offensive in her new song GRRRLS. But to her credit, she’s making a major change to be more inclusive!
On Monday, the 34-year-old superstar singer was called out on Twitter and elsewhere online for using the word “s**z” — a slang derivation of the term “spastic” — in a new lyric in the intro verse of her newly-released, much-anticipated song.
In the opening verse, the Michigan-born Grammy winner sings:
“Hold my bag, b**ch, hold my bag / Do you see this s**t? I’m a s**z.”
On Twitter, the lyric was almost immediately panned by disability activists and others within that space as they reacted to the term (often used as a derogatory slang reference to someone losing physical or emotional control).
It was far from hypothetical problems cited or cynical concern-trolling, either. Some fans explained to Lizzo via Twitter that the word has a specific definition that is demeaning and ableist, as one person powerfully called out (below):
“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. ‘S**z’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
Other fans called Lizzo out for “not being inclusive,” with some explaining how the word has come to be used as a “slur” that is “really offensive” to the disabled community both on the internet and offline.
One fan shared on the social media app:
“As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.”
And another spoke up about the potential fallout of Lizzo’s massive fanbase getting hold of the problematic word:
“It doesn’t matter if lizzo knew the ableist connotations of the word s**z, it is still problematic. So many people will sing this song and integrate the word into their day to day language. … I acknowledge that the word has different connotations in the US but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a slur. lizzo is a GLOBAL artist and it should’ve been taken into consideration.”
But as bad as the slur itself was, to her credit, the Juice songstress has already responded — and she’s pledging specific, real, actionable change! On Monday afternoon, Lizzo announced on social media that she changed the lyrics in GRRRLS to eliminate the “s**z” reference, and the single is being updated and changed out on all platforms!
The singer, who is releasing her fourth album Special on July 15, took to Twitter, TikTok, and elsewhere to reveal the news by writing (below):
“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song ‘GRRRLS.’ 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,). I’m proud to say there’s a new version of GRRRLS 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.”
Here is the full post:
Honestly, good for her.
She took a situation in which she undoubtedly, albeit unintentionally, messed up, she listened to those most affected by the issue, and she made a change accordingly. That’s personal growth. Everyone should aspire to that!
Reactions, Perezcious readers??
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