Beyoncé has been criticised by disability charity Scope for including an ableist slur on her new album, Renaissance.
‘Heated’, which was co-written with Drake, uses the word ‘sp*z’ on two occasions. Lizzo recently re-recorded ‘Grrrls’ after she was slammed for using the same slur, which is used to derogatorily describe people who suffer from cerebral palsy.
The ‘About Damn Time’ singer apologised and said: “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 hateful words used against me so I understand 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.”
Disability advocate Hannah Diviney spoke to the BBC about the use of the word in ‘Heated’ and revealed it “feels like a slap in the face”. She told the broadcaster: “I’m tired and frustrated that we’re having this conversation again so soon after we got such a meaningful and progressive response from Lizzo”.
Meanwhile, Scope are asking Beyoncé to follow Lizzo’s suit and re-record the song without the lyric. “Words matter because they reinforce the negative attitudes disabled people face every day,” says media manager Warren Kirwan. “Beyoncé has long been a champion of inclusivity and equality, so we’d urge her to remove this offensive lyric.”
Beyoncé and her team have now confirmed that the word will be replaced and that it was not “used intentionally in a harmful way.”