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Beyoncé changes 'Renaissance' lyrics after scrutiny

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Beyoncé’s rep confirmed to CNN this week that Beyoncé will permanently remove the disabled slur “spaz” from her album and replace it. It’s unclear which term Beyoncé’s team will use instead.

The statement comes just days after the singer released her seventh studio album, Renaissance, a lengthy dance record reminiscent of pre-pandemic clubbing.

Listeners hear the words on the eleventh track, “Heated.” The disability community condemned the use of slurs on Twitter, which prompted a backlash after its release.

One user said the use of the word felt like a “slap in the face” to the disabled community.


But Beyonce isn’t the first singer to be specifically accused of having slurs in her lyrics.

In June, pop singer Lizzo faced similar backlash after incorporating lyrics after the release of her single “GRRRLS.” Many of her media advocates on prominent social media, including her Imani Barbarin, who has over 400,000 followers, have criticized its use.

Lizzo’s fans were particularly disappointed that Lizzo had advocated for the body positivity movement. She changed her lyrics to address the backlash.

Barbarin is a disabled person himself and a staunch disability advocate.

“Spaz” is a term derived from “spastic,” an insult often used to describe people with disabilities or reduced mobility.

Beyoncé’s announcement was challenged after a Twitter user pointed out that the term is part of African-American Native English, abbreviated AAVE, and is commonly used in the black community. .

However, many have shown that the standard application of the word in colloquial language is not mutually exclusive with its disabled roots.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “spaz” as relating to, characterized by, or affected by, or spasm-like.

The National Center on Disability and Journalism describes it as derogatory.

“It is acceptable to refer to someone as ‘spastic cerebral palsy,’ but it is derogatory to refer to them as ‘spastic’ or ‘spas.’ “It’s always best to ask for the person’s preferred term when describing a specific symptom,” the center wrote.

A representative for Beyoncé said that “words not intentionally used in a harmful way will be replaced.”