Pioneering musician Lizzo listens 100% and says she’s committed to being part of the change she’s been waiting for.
The Grammy-winning flutist came under fire this weekend after “unintentionally” using an offensive slur on her new track “GRRRLS,” which samples the Beastie Boys’ 1986 song “Girls,” and featured on her album ” Special” will be released in July. Then on Monday, the “About Damn Time” singer responded to what fans called the offensive lyric on the track by completely – and proudly – changing the line.
The word – a slang term for “spastic” – is considered derogatory, and Lizzo has been called out by disability advocates online for promoting disability culture. But for anyone vaguely familiar with Lizzo’s music (or viral TikTok choreography), that’s the opposite of her inclusive, body-positive approach.
“Hold my bag, b—, hold my bag / Do you see that s—? I’m like—z,” the original song said.
For example, a Twitter user pointed out how offensive the text was in relation to her condition.
“Hey @lizzo, my disabled cerebral palsy is literally classified as spastic diplegia (where spasticity refers to an infinite painful tightness in my legs),” the disability attorney wrote @hannah_diviney on twitter. “Your new song makes me pretty angry + sad. “S—z” doesn’t mean freaky or crazy. It’s an ableistic arc. It’s 2022. Make it better.”
Following the criticism, the 34-year-old star took action and changed the song’s line from “I’m as—z” to “Hold me back.” She also posted the snippet on TikTok, where it’s already being reshuffled and adopted by users.
“It was brought to my attention that my new song ‘GRRRLS’ contains a harmful word,” the Yitty founder said in a statement posted to her social media accounts on Monday. “Let me get one thing straight: I never want to encourage derogatory language. As a fat black woman in America, many hurtful words have been used against me that I overestimate the power words can have (whether intentional or, in my case, unintentional).
“I am proud to say that there is a new version of GRRRLS with modified text. This is the result of my listening and acting. As an influential artist, I want to be part of the change I’ve been waiting for.”
Diviney and several other advocates applauded Lizzo for the change:
“I will cry. Thank you for listening to us Lizzo and for understanding that this was always meant gently and for being open to learning, it honestly means the world. You’re a really true ally,” she said tweeted in response to Lizzo’s statement.
And fans of the “Truth Hurts” and “Juice” singer took to the comments section of her posts to praise and thank her for the quick response.
“And that’s why Lizzo is iconic,” said one Instagram user.
“Called to the table, listened and made a change. Being an ally is that [easy] her. I’m so glad I have a queen who really does the work,” said another.
“Showing the world that it really is that simple, just listen and make a change. I love you,” added another Instagram user.
“I wish other great artists were like that, but instead they take all the hate and act like there’s nothing they can do about it,” said another commenter.
“Girl we all make mistakes these people just want you to do better and you are!! Your[e] strong and you didn’t know I wasn’t even growing that well <3," said one TikTok reply.
“No problem queen!!! I wasn’t aware it was also a swear word, I’ll make sure to remove it from my vocabulary from now on,” added another.
“Thank you for bringing it up. And for the people who say we “make up insults” and we should “get a life, here’s listening and learning, it’s not hard,” wrote another TikTok user.
Meanwhile, others, including some of Lizzo’s music industry colleagues, weren’t so laudable, arguing that the term “lyrics” doesn’t carry negative connotations and can sometimes be used positively.
“S—z is like wildin out,” rapper the Game wrote in the comments section of a Shade Room post about the controversy.
“I’m lost,” added rapper Gangsta Boo. “That is really annoying! The internet has made TOOOOOOOOOOOO MANY people cry.”
Some recording artists have quietly updated their outdated lyrics to fan outcry. The Black Eyed Peas softly scrubbed the R-word from their hit party anthem “Let’s Get It Started,” and rap group Salt-N-Pepa are known for tying the bow during live performances of “Shoop.” hit.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2022-06-14/lizzo-grrrls-lyric-disability-advocates Read Lizzo’s statement on ‘Grrrls’ lyric change after outcry