Lizzo on ableist insult: “I did not know it was a slur”
(Credit: Lizzo / Press)


Lizzo on ableist insult: "I did not know it was a slur"

Popstar Lizzo has discussed the use of an ableist insult in one of her songs. After facing much criticism for a word used in ‘Grrrls’, she claims that she’s never heard it in an offensive context before. The track, taken from her most recent record, Special, includes a notorious abbreviation of ‘spastic’, a derogatory term used primarily to describe cerebral palsy.

The line in the song says: “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this shit? I’m a sp*z.” However, in response to the criticism, she apologised to fans and changed the line to: Do you see this shit? / Hold me back”.

In a new interview with Vanity Fairthe American musician said: “I’d never heard it used as a slur against disabled people, never ever. The music I make is in the business of feeling good and being authentic to me. Using a slur is unauthentic [sic] to me, but I did not know it was a slur.”

She continued: “It’s a word I’ve heard a lot, especially in rap songs, and with my Black friends and in my Black circles: It means to go off, turn up. I used [it as a] verb, not as a noun or adjective. I used it in the way that it’s used in the Black community.”

Lizzo then accepted that language changes, saying: “Language changes generationally; Nina Simone said you cannot be an artist and not reflect the times.”

She concluded: “So am I not being an artist and reflecting the times and learning, listening to people, and making a conscious change in the way we treat language, and help people in the way we treat people in the future?”

Elsewhere, Beyoncé has recently faced criticism for using a similar slur in her track ‘Heated’ which features on her new album Renaissance.