Beyoncé‘s long-awaited return to music has not been without plenty of drama and unfortunately her new album RENAISSANCE has garnered headlines for the wrong reasons. Make no mistake, the 16-track project is amazing. The Guardian handed it in four out of five stars while the New York Times dubbed it “unmitigated ecstasy”. But the track “HEATED” has received its own heat from disability advocates and fans on social media for using the ableist term “spaz” within the lyrics.
“Spazzin’ on that ass, spazz on that ass,” Beyoncé sings. One writer for The Guardian explained in a powerful essay that the term, shortened from “spastic”, is especially offensive for people suffering from cerebral palsy. It is a disability that affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture, according to the CDC.
In a statement obtained by Variety, a spokesperson for Beyoncé revealed the lyrics would now be changed. “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” they said.
It comes just a couple of months after Lizzo found herself with the same criticism for using the term in her new single “GRRLS”. She originally sang, “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this s–t? I’m a spaz.” After garnering outrage on social media the pop star apologised on Twitter before changing the lyrics.
— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) June 13, 2022
Upon release of RENAISSANCE (which was leaked two days early), Queen Bey also received backlash from artist Kelis who accused the 40-year-old of “theft” for her sample of the 1990 hit “Get Along With You” in her new track “Energy.
“I heard about this the same way everyone else did,” she commented on social media at the weekend. “Nothing is ever as it seems, some of the people in this business have no soul or integrity and they have everyone fooled.”