Three-time Grammy winning pop star Lizzo has dropped the second single from her forthcoming album, but fans were quick to express their disappointment on social media.
After teasing the song on TikTok last week, ‘Grrrls’ was officially released yesterday. It follows on from the hugely viral ‘About Damn Time,’ which has soundtracked over 3.5 million TikTok videos since it’s April 14th release.
The new track, which samples the Beastie Boys track ‘Girls’ from their album License To Ill, features new lyrics meant to empower women.
Some fans, like TikTok creator ‘itsabigaillea’ have asked the star to “remove” the new single and re-release it” due to its use of an ableist slur.
“So Lizzo just released a song that contains an ableist slur,” Abigail says in her video. “Words like this are so harmful and hurtful and offensive to the disabled community.”
@lizzo Please remove the s-word from your song! i love your music, and it makes me sad to hear this word in your music. #actuallyautistic #lizzo #autisticadult #ableism #autistictiktok
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Abigail – who lives in the UK and has Autism and ADHD, according to her bio – acknowledged that the word is used “more casually and commonly” in the USA.
“But that doesn’t make it okay,” she says. “It’s still a word that has been used to mock disabled people, especially those with cerebral palsy, and those who have coordination issues.”
She also says there is “no excuse” for the use of the slur, because “Lizzo is a superstar.”
Lizzo has hundreds of people working for her, and our songs get screened in multiple ways,” she says. “Lizzo, I love your music, but using this word is harmful and unnecessary. Please remove it.”
Verse one of the track begins with the lyrics, “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag/Do you see this shit? I’ma sp*zz [sic]”
Fans on Twitter have also picked up on the ableist language.
I’m disappointed in @lizzo for using the word “[email protected]” in her new song “Grrrls”. There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022. As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.
— Callum Stephen (He/Him) (@AutisticCallum_) June 11, 2022
“There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022,” one fan wrote. “As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.”
“It doesn’t matter if Lizzo knew the ableist connotations of the word sp*z, it is still problematic,” wrote another. “So many people will sing this song and integrate the word into their day to day language.”
“I’m sorry, but the fact that the term sp*z is a slur derived from the iffy medical term ‘spastic’ is widely known,” wrote another. “I knew that as a literal child, long before I ever became disabled. Very disappointed in Lizzo and her team; even if she claims ignorance, someone knew & said nowt.”
I'm sorry, but the fact that the term sp*z is a slur derived from the iffy medical term "spastic" is widely known. I knew that as a literal child, long before I ever became disabled.
Very disappointed in Lizzo and her team; even if she claims ignorance, someone knew & said nowt.
— Diary of a Disabled Person (@WheelerDax) June 11, 2022
So far Lizzo and her team have not responded to the backlash.