After the release of her seventh studio album, Beyoncé is under fire for using an ableist slur in one of the new songs, "Heated." The singer has since announced that the word "spaz" will be removed, and a rep for Beyoncé told POPSUGAR in a statement, "The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced." In the original track, Beyoncé sings, "Spazzin' on that ass, spaz on that ass."
This language is derived from the term "spastic," which is used in the medical field to describe a condition in which the nerve pathways that control movement are damaged, making it difficult for a person to control their muscles. The word has developed a negative connotation over the years and is used as a slur towards people with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy.
Beyoncé has faced criticism from many across the disabled community, with disability advocate Hannah Diviney writing, "I'm so tired. Disabled people deserve better. I don't want to have this conversation again." The use of the slur closely followed Lizzo's own inclusion of the word in her song "Grrrls" six weeks earlier. She similarly changed the lyric following backlash.
"Let's make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language," Lizzo said on Instagram when she was criticized for her choice in using the same slur. "As an influential artist I'm dedicated to being part of the change I've been waiting to see in the world."
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