Lizzo has been slammed for using an ableist slur in her new song ‘Grrrls’
People have been calling for the song to be removed and have the line taken out
Popstar Lizzo has been criticised for using an ableist slur in her latest single ‘Grrrls’. In the opening of her new song, she sings: “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this sh*t? I’m a sp*z.” Her song has been met with floods of criticism from fans and disability activists who are calling for the track to be taken down and reuploaded without the offensive line.
According to Oxford dictionaries, the word is used to describe “an incompetent or uncoordinated person”, and in the US is described as to “lose physical or emotional control”. The term derives from the word spastic which is a dated term used to describe someone with cerebral palsy but has also been used in an offensive context to describe someone as clumsy or stupid.
Lizzo’s new song is set to join alongside her latest studio album, Special. Genius lyrics described the song as “an empowering anthem about women sharing their love and power with each other”, with “a similar upbeat, empowering feel as her smash hit truth hurts.” The singer has not yet responded to any of the backlash since releasing the song over the weekend.
Hannah Diviney is a disability advocate who has cerebral palsy. She tweeted: “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. ‘Sp*z’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
Other disability advocates have been trying to spread awareness as to why the slur is not okay to be used and its context. Accessibility advocate Stacey Jenkins said: “The slang literally comes from the word spastic which relates to involuntary muscle spasms in people with cerebral palsy. It’s okay to not know the origins of the word and to not know it’s offensive, but it’s also important to listen to marginalised communities.”
Featured image credit via Instagram @lizzobeeating.