Beyoncé has agreed to change the lyrics to her new song “Heated” after facing criticism from disability advocates for using an “ableist slur.”
Activists were upset the singer used the word “spaz,” which they say is offensive to people with a “spastic” condition. In a statement on Monday, a rep for the Grammy-winning performer confirmed she will change the lyrics.
“The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” Beyoncé’s team said in a statement obtained by Variety.
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The song is part of the singer’s new album “Renaissance,” which debuted late Thursday night. After hearing “Heated,” activists quickly condemned the track.
“So so disappointed that Beyoncé has used an ableist slur in ‘Heated.’ It’s the same one Lizzo used (& corrected very gracefully)… this was high profile enough that the same mistake shouldn’t have happened again. So sick of non-disabled artists not recognizing harm in their words,” one activist tweeted.
Another added on Twitter, “Feels like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community & the progress we tried to make with Lizzo. Guess I’ll just keep telling the whole industry to ‘do better’ until ableist slurs disappear from music.”
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The controversy comes a month after Lizzo apologized for using the same word in her song “GRRRLS.” After facing criticism, she posted a statement on her social media channels in June, saying she would adjust the lyrics.
“Renaissance” is Beyoncé’s seventh studio album.
In just a matter of days, the disc has continued to stir debate. Last week, R&B singer Kelis expressed anger that Beyoncé sampled her 2003 hit “Milkshake,” without her knowledge. In a July 28th video posted on Instagram, Kelis called out Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams, who wrote and produced “Milkshake” with his Neptunes producing partner Chad Hugo.
“Pharrell knows better. This is a direct hit at me,” she said. “It’s very petty.”