Lizzo facing backlash for using 'ableist slur' in new song

Lizzo facing backlash for using 'ableist slur' in new song
Lizzo drops empowering new single Grrrls from album Special

Lizzo is facing a backlash for using an "ableist slur" in her new song, "Grrrls."

In the song's opening verse, she sings: "Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this shit? I'm a sp*z."

Although used informally in the US to mean "freak out" or "go crazy," the term comes from the word "spastic," which is medically used to describe the spasms one might experience from a condition like cerebral palsy.

The term is also used to disparage people with disabilities, especially those with cerebral palsy.

After the singer's single was released on Friday (10 June), fans and disability activists took to social media to share their disappointment over the lyrics.

Some even called for the track to be removed and re-uploaded with the line omitted.

Sign upto our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

One person on Twitter wrote: "Hey @lizzo, as a long-time fan of yours that's autistic and disabled. Your recent song 'Grrrls' made me really upset and disappointed. Hearing you use the slur "Sp*z" REPEATEDLY! It is really harmful!

"Even if you didn't know! The word "sp*z" is [an] [ABLEIST] term."

Lizzo facing backlash for using 'abelist slur' in new song Getty

"As a huge Lizzo fan, I am extremely disappointed about her new song containing a slur. First of all, how does it go through that many people without anyone picking up on it?? and why wouldn't you just change the lyrics and re-release knowing it's offensive?? It feels so odd to me," another added.

A third wrote: "[Very] surprised Lizzo was ok including the word sp@z in her new song. I wouldn't personally go as far as to call it a slur, but it IS a word that needs to be phased out ASAP. It makes me flinch when I hear it. it doesn't mean to flip out or go wild, as hard as you justify that."

Someone else, who doesn't want to cancel Lizzo but rather wants to educate her, added: "I've seen a few comments across the internet talking about 'Cancelling Lizzo,' and that's not what we want - we want to educate her and have the word changed."

Lizzo is not the first musician to experience some backlash from using this word in a song.

According to PopBuzz, rapper Bhad Bhabie released a song titled 'Spaz' and faced similar sentiments from disability advocates.

Lizzo hasn't publically responded to the criticisms as of yet. "Grrrls" is the second song to be shared from her upcoming fourth album, Special, following the leading single "About Damn Time" in April.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)