Lizzo has spoken out to her fans after she received backlash over the lyrics to her new song, Grrrls, which featured an ableist slur.
Announcing that she had made a change to the wording, she said on Instagram: “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 I understand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally).”
She added: “This is a 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 originally used a word which is commonly known as a derogatory term for someone with a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia, or as a generalised ableist insult. The new lyric, in which she now sings “hold me back,” has already replaced the original on streaming services including Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube.
Writer Hannah Diviney was one of the many who called for Lizzo to change her lyrics, tweeting: “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 + sad. ‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
Following her response, many praised Lizzo for taking accountability and making a quick change.
“I’m going to cry… 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,” Hannah wrote after Lizzo’s update.
Another fan added on Instagram: “Showing the world it really is that easy to simply listen & make the change. I love you.”