Artist News Releases

Lizzo changes offensive line in new single following backlash

By | Published on Tuesday 14 June 2022


Lizzo has changed a line in her new single ‘Grrrls’ following controversy over the use of a word that originates as a slur against people with cerebral palsy.

Apparently unaware of the negative connotations of the word, Lizzo last night confirmed that she had re-recorded the line in the song that included it and had not intended to “promote derogatory language”.

“Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this shit? I’ma spaz”, sang Lizzo in the opening line of the original version of the song, released on Friday. Defending Lizzo, some fans argued that the word no longer has ableist connotations, and rather means “go crazy” or “freak out” – terms that have their own issues.

People with cerebral palsy countered that it’s not for non-disabled Lizzo fans to tell them what they should or shouldn’t be offended by.

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

Many other people pointed out at that, as an artist who speaks often about diversity and inclusivity, it’s odd that Lizzo would include that word in one of her songs. And also that no one else involved in the process of writing, recording and releasing it picked it up.

In a post on social media last night announcing the lyric change, Lizzo wrote: “It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song ‘Grrrls’. Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language. As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me, so l overstand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally)”.

“I’m proud to say there’s a new version of ‘Grrrls’ with a lyric change”, she went on. “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 waiting to see in the world”.

The song now begins “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this shit? Hold me back” over a sample of ‘Girls’ by Beastie Boys that runs through the track.

Lizzo is set to release her new album ‘Special’ on 15 Jul. You can hear ‘Grrrls’ here: