American singer-songwriter Beyoncé, who recently dropped her latest album ‘Renaissance‘, has been facing backlash for the usage of a particular word that has a negative, ableist connotation, with people calling her out for it.
The 40-year-old has, as such, vowed to change the lyrics of the contentious song. According to reports, the lyric in her song ‘Heated‘ contains the derogatory word ‘sp*z’ — an ableist slur taken from the word ‘spastic’, which is often used to look down upon someone with spastic cerebral palsy.
The Cambridge dictionary explains that a spastic person is “someone who suffers from cerebral palsy (a condition of the body that makes it difficult to control the muscles)”.
The singer’s publicist has confirmed to the BBC that the word was “not used intentionally in a harmful way”, and that it will “be replaced in the lyrics”. However, it was not clear as to when that would happen and no official statement has been made by Beyoncé either.
Disability advocate Hannah Diviney was quoted as telling the BBC that when the singer’s fans heard the track, it felt “like a slap in the face”. “I’m tired and frustrated that we’re having this conversation again so soon after we got such a meaningful and progressive response from Lizzo”.
Diviney referred to a recent similar episode, wherein rapper Lizzo was also criticised because the lyrics of her single ‘Grrrls‘ were ‘ableist’. Her song, too, had the word ‘sp*z’ in it, with activists calling her an ‘ableist’ — someone who may potentially discriminate against people with disabilities and/or people who are perceived to be disabled.
Lizzo then wrote a public apology and said she “never want to promote derogatory language”, before changing the lyrics.
Per the BCC report, disability charity Scope had asked Beyoncé to re-record the song. “It’s good Beyoncé has acted so swiftly after disabled people yet again called out this thoughtless lyric,” Scope’s media manager Warren Kirwan was quoted as saying. “There’s a feeling of deja vu as it’s just a few weeks since Lizzo also had to re-release a song after featuring the same offensive language.”