Beyoncé has confirmed that she will remove a lyric from a track on her new album “Renaissance” after it was called “ableist” and “offensive” by disability charities and activists.
Fans and activists criticized the use of the word “spaz” in the song “Heated,” which has been used as a derogatory noun against people with disabilities, especially those with cerebral palsy. In African-American Vernacular English, a dialect of English created and used in Black communities, the word means to “go crazy” or “fight,” leading to confusion about the negative use of the word.
In a statement to Insider, a representative for the Grammy award-winning singer confirmed the lyric will be changed.
“The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” the statement said.
In June, Lizzo issued an apology and re-released the song “Grrrls” with new lyrics after she received backlash for including the same word in the song.
Some people questioned how the “Break My Soul” singer did not see the public backlash to Lizzo two months earlier.
Disability advocate Hannah Diveney wrote in an opinion piece in the Guardian that Beyoncé’s status as a culturally significant singer doesn’t “excuse her use of ableist language.”
“I’m so tired. Disabled people deserve better. I don’t want to have this conversation again,” she wrote in the article.
Warren Kirwan, media manager at UK disability equality charity Scope, told Insider that removing the word matters because it can reinforce negative attitudes towards people with disabilities.
A study of 4,015 adults with disabilities in England and Wales, conducted earlier this year by Scope and Opinium Research, found that nine out of 10 people who experienced negative attitudes and behaviors said their experiences had a personal impact on them.
“It’s appalling that one of the world’s biggest stars has chosen to include this deeply offensive term,” Kirwan told Insider.
“Just weeks ago, Lizzo received a huge backlash from fans who felt hurt and let down after she used the same abhorrent language. Thankfully she did the right thing and re-recorded the song. It’s hard to believe that could have gone unnoticed by Beyoncé’s team.”
Kirwan added: “Words matter because they reinforce the negative attitudes disabled people face every day, and which impact on every aspect of disabled people’s lives. Beyoncé has long been a champion of inclusivity and equality, so we’d urge her to remove this offensive lyric.”
Another UK disability charity, Sense, also tweeted it was “disappointing” to see another artist using the word after the incident with Lizzo.
“Hoping Beyoncé follows Lizzo’s example and changes the track,” the organization said. “We need more education to improve awareness of disability.”NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!