Beyonce announced plans to change the lyrics to one of the songs on their new album, “Renaissance,” amid a flurry of criticism.
The pop superstar sparked backlash over the weekend over the song “Heated,” which was co-written by Drake. The track features the line: “Spazzin’ on that ass, spazz on that ass.”
The word “spaz” is based on spastic diplegiaa form of cerebral palsy that causes motor impairments in the legs or arms, and has been used as an insult to people living with this disability.
On Monday, a representative for Beyoncé confirmed that a new version of “Heated” will be available with the contentious lyrics changed, but gave no further details.
“The word, not intentionally used in a harmful manner, will be replaced“, we read in the press release.
Among the first to address Beyoncé’s use of the insult was Australian writer and disability advocate Hannah Diviney, who tweeted that it felt like “a slap in the face”. On Monday, she amplified her position in a essay for The Guardian.
“Beyoncé’s commitment to telling stories musically and visually is unparalleled, as is her power to draw the world’s attention to the stories, struggles and nuanced lived experience of being a black woman – a world which I can only understand as an ally, and have no desire to eclipse”, Divine wrote:. “But that does not excuse his use of ableist language – language that is too often used and ignored.”
Interestingly, Beyoncé’s announcement follows Lizzo’s decision to edit the same word from one of her new songs. Last month, the “Truth Hurts” singer plans confirmed to change a lyric in “Grrrls”, from his latest album “Special”, following similar criticism by Diviney and others.
“Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo wrote on Instagram at the time. “It’s the result of my listening and my doing. As an influential artist, I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.
“Renaissance”, Beyoncé’s seventh solo album, was released last week for critical praise and fanfare boffo. Still, there were a number of dissenting voices. Singer Kelis accused Beyoncé from “theft” after discovering that her 2003 hit “Milkshake” had been interpolated into the new track “Energy”, allegedly without her permission.