Lizzo at the H Wood Party

Lizzo Recalls Backlash Over Ableist Lyric In Her Hit Single 'Grrrls'

Home / News / Lizzo Recalls Backlash Over Ableist Lyric In Her Hit Single 'Grrrls'

By Favour Adegoke on October 13, 2022 at 12:00 PM EDT

Singer Lizzo recently talked about her use of an ableist term in the lyric of her smash hit track "Grrrls."

The single was said to contain the word "sp*z, " seemingly a derogatory term used to mock disabled people. After receiving criticism on social media, the singer turned to Twitter to apologize to her followers and let them know that the lyrics had been changed.

The Detroit native said in a recent interview that she had no clue the phrase was a slur and that she had heard it being used for celebratory purposes in rap songs and among her pals.

Read on to learn more.

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Lizzo Had No Idea That The Lyrics 'Sp*z' Was A Slur


Lizzo has opened up about using a slur in one of her recent releases, claiming that she'd never previously heard it used in a derogatory context.

The singer, who dropped her latest album, "Special," a few months ago, garnered the ire of fans due to the lyrics of her song "Grrrls" containing the term "spaz" that appeared to mock disabled people.

The lyric was originally, "Hold my bag, b*tch, hold my bag / Do you see this sh*t? I'm a sp**," which Lizzo then changed to "Do you see this sh*t? / Hold me back" after she received flak on social media.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the singer spoke about the controversy and clarified the air around her actions.

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"I'd never heard it used as a slur against disabled people, never ever," she told the publication. "The music I make is in the business of feeling good and being authentic to me. Using a slur is unauthentic to me, but I did not know it was a slur."

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She Explained Why She Used The Word

Lizzo shows off her 'specs' appeal - as she models a new eyewear collection.

The singer also mentioned in the chat that she has primarily heard the phrase used in rap songs and among her circle of black friends and that it is not being used as a derogatory term but rather for celebratory purposes.

"It means to go off, turn up," Lizzo said, explaining her own understanding of what "spaz" meant. "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. The internet brought it to my attention, but that wouldn't [have been enough] to make me change something."

According to the dictionary, spaz is a derogatory term used to describe a person with cerebral palsy. One symptom of such ailment is the inability to control one's muscles.

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Lizzo On Her Music


Lizzo went on to discuss the changes she made to the lyrics due to the backlash, saying that her decision to make the swap doesn't change who she is as an artist.

"Nina Simone changed lyrics – is she not an artist?' the 34-year-old told Vanity Fair. "Language changes generationally; Nina Simone said you cannot be an artist and not reflect the times.

She added: "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?'

Lizzo also disclosed that her music would not contain "anything negative" as she does want such things to reflect themselves in her life.

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Lizzo Apologized For Her Use Of The Slur

At the height of the backlash, the "Good as Hell" star apologized to offended and disappointed fans, saying that she never wanted to promote derogatory language in her songs.

"Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language," she wrote on Twitter at the time. "As a fat, Black woman in America, I've had many hurtful words used against me, so I overstand the power words can have (whether intentionally or, in my case, unintentionally)."

She then shared with fans that the lyrics of the song had been changed to remove the alleged slur.

The statement further read, "I'm proud to say there's a new version of GRRRLS with a lyric change. This is the 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."

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