“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song ‘GRRRLS,'” the 34-year-old singer shared in a Twitter update. “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 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.”
— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) June 13, 2022
The line in question includes the word “spaz,” which is not very controversial in the United States but is considered derogatory in the United Kingdom. Though in modern slang it refers to clumsiness, across the pond the word references movements associated with cerebral palsy, per Newsweek.
“Hold my bag, b****/ Hold my bag/ Do you see this s***?/ 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,” Lizzo sings in the original version of “GRRRLS.”
One person on Twitter responded, “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. ‘Sp-z’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
There were other similar messages prior to Lizzo deciding to change her new song. Meanwhile, some Twitter users thought critics were overly sensitive in their assessment.
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh tweeted in response to the lyric change, “The song is full of profanity and violence. She threatens to cut a man’s penis off and assault random strangers. But the part that offends people is when she uses the word ‘spaz.’ We are the dumbest society in the history of the world.”
Others were similarly confused, pointing out how much the singer uses the word “b****” in the lyrics, which more people were likely to find offensive.
This is Lizzo’s second single off her new album “Special”, which debuts July 15. “About Damn Time” was the first and quickly became a Top 10 Billboard hit.