Lizzo changes song lyric after being accused of using ableist slur: 'This is the result of me listening'

Lizzo has released a new version of her song “Grrrls” after one of the lyrics stirred up controversy over its alleged ableist meaning.

In a Twitter post Tuesday afternoon, the “Truth Hurts” singer said an updated version of “Grrrls,” the latest single from her upcoming album “Special,” was released after it was brought to her attention that one of its lyrics was “a harmful word.”

“Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo wrote. “As a Black fat 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). 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 wanting to see in the world.”

For context, the original lyric that offended fans came from the song’s line, “Do you see this (expletive)? I'ma spazz,” with many claiming that “spaz” is an ableist slur. As a slang term, “spaz” has often been used to describe losing “physical or emotional control,” but has fallen increasingly out of fashion because of the word’s origin from "spastic": “a form of muscular weakness (spastic paralysis) typical of cerebral palsy,” according to Lexico, an online dictionary.

Fans took to social media to voice their outrage over the lyric’s insensitivity.

“Hey (Lizzo), my disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs),” wrote Hannah Diviney, a disability advocate and writer. “Your new song makes me pretty angry + sad. ‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”

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“I’m disappointed in (Lizzo) for using the word ‘sp@z’ in her new song ‘Grrrls,’ ” tweeted Callum Stephen, an autism advocate. “There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022. As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.”

“Really disappointing that Lizzo has written an empowerment ‘anthem’ for women but in the first verse she uses the word sp*z,” wrote Twitter user @vvitcherii. “Empowering one group doesn’t mean you can use ableist language.”

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Twitter user @Shelbykinsxo wanted to clarify the backlash was directed toward the song’s lyric and not Lizzo as a public figure.

“I've seen a few comments across the internet talking about ‘Cancelling Lizzo’ and that's not what we want,” @Shelbykinsxo wrote. “We want to educate her and have the word changed.”

Lizzo’s quick willingness to alter the lyric appears to already be striking a chord with fans.

“I’m going to cry,” wrote Diviney in response to Lizzo’s Twitter post. “Thank you so much for hearing us Lizzo and for understanding that this was only ever meant gently and being open to learning, it honestly means the world. You’re a real true ally.”

“Good on you,” wrote Twitter user @houseofsnarks. “Always room for learning and changing.”

“Love you so much Lizzo,” wrote Twitter user @femme4fleurs. “this was a very kind way to approach this.”

“My favorite part is not only the accountability, but not making any excuses for herself either,” wrote Twitter user @tgoddessofbread.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lizzo changes song lyric after social media backlash, ableism claims