Beyoncé commenced the Renaissance on July 29, and the girls have been sleeping real good at night. The project was met with mainly positive reviews, except for one critique on the Drake-assisted single, “Heated.” Listeners were outraged on social media because the song included the word “spaz.” Critics accused the singer of being ableist and offensive.
Bey sings, “Spazzin’ on that ass, spazz on that ass.” In the medical world, the term “spastic” refers to someone who is disabled and has difficulties moving their muscles. The Black is King singer’s team told Variety they plan to remove the slur. The statement reads, “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” as per the outlet.
The song even inspired an op-ed piece published in The Guardian. The writer said, “Beyoncé’s commitment to storytelling musically and visually is unparalleled, as is her power to have the world paying attention to the narratives, struggles and nuanced lived experience of being a Black woman… But that doesn’t excuse her use of ableist language.” The journalist also took to social media to double down on her stance. She wrote, “So @Beyonce used the word ‘spaz’ in her new song Heated. Feels like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community & the progress we tried to make with Lizzo. Guess I’ll just keep telling the whole industry to ‘do better’ until ableist slurs disappear from music.”
Beyoncé’s decision to remove the ableist slur comes after Lizzo updated the lyrics on her song, “Grrrls,” after receiving similar backlash. In the original song, Lizzo said, “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag/ Do you see this shit? I’m a spaz.” But the updated lyric reads a little something like: “Hold my bag, bitch, Hold my bag/ Do you see this shit? Hold me back.” While announcing the lyric change, the “Good as Hell” singer wrote on social media, “Let’s make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language.” She added that she was “proud” to take the time to listen and make a change.