The song contains the word "spaz." Beyoncé sings, "Spazzin’ on that a--, spazz on that a--."
The word is a shortened form of "spastic," a medical term describe someone with "spasticity," a symptom of neurological conditions in which "muscles stiffen or tighten, preventing normal fluid movement," per the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. According to Johns Hopkins, 12 million people worldwide are affected by spasticity, and it's often associated with conditions like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke and brain and spinal cord injuries.
The backlash to "Heated" comes just weeks after another singer, Lizzo, was criticized for using the same word in "GRRRLS," a song from her latest album. After receiving backlash, Lizzo pulled the lyric and replaced it, writing a statement on Twitter explaining her decision.
“Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo wrote. “As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”
Following the release of "Renaissance," disability activist Hannah Diviney tweeted, “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.”
A disability charity called the lyric "offensive" and "disappointing" on Twitter.
In response to the criticism, Beyoncé's team gave a statement to TODAY that the lyric will be removed from the song. "The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced," the statement reads.
The "Renaissance" release has not been completely smooth in other respects, either: The album was leaked two days early. However, the tracks are already topping the charts and breaking streaming service records.