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Lizzo changes lyrics of new song ‘Grrrls’ to remove 'ableist slur'

The song initially featured the word “spaz,” which the disabled community lambasted as an “ableist slur.”
Today - Season 68
Lizzo opens up about the moment she cried on Instagram Live after she read a "harmful" comment about her looks.Nathan Congleton / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Lizzo is changing the lyrics to her new song “Grrrls” after criticism from the disabled community that the song has contains a word in it that is considered an “ableist slur.”

The lyrics in question are as follows:

“Hold my bag/Do you see this s---? I’ma spazz.”

The word spaz or spazz is considered to be a slur in the United Kingdom and Australia, though it's generally accepted in the United States to mean "freaking out."

After Lizzo's song dropped on Friday, people online reached out to the pop star to ask her to change the words.

"Hey @lizzo please remove the word “s--z” from your new song because it’s a slur and really offensive to the disabled community, " one user wrote, signing the post as "a disappointed fan."

"Many seem not to know that this slur stems from *medical terminology* that was hijacked and then used to mock people with cerebral palsy and, later, other disabled people," @AutisticCallum_ wrote in a thread, adding that he didn't want anyone to "cancel Lizzo."

Disability advocate Hannah Diviney tweeted an explanation of why she was offended to the pop star.

"Hey @lizzo, my disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs) your new song makes me pretty angry + sad," she wrote in her now-viral post. "'S--z' doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better."

Monday afternoon, Lizzo posted to Twitter that she's changing the song.

"It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song 'GRRRLS'. Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language. 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 wrote, adding there's a new version of the song 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, " she concluded.

Diviney later shared the pop star's update to her Twitter, writing that she was "going to cry."

"Thank you so much for hearing us Lizzo and for understanding that this was only ever meant gently and being open to learning, it honestly means the world," she said. "You’re a real true ally."

This isn't the first time an American has used the word "s--z" seemingly without knowing it is considered a slur abroad.

In 2006, following the final round of the US Masters, Tiger Woods made the same misstep.

"I putted atrociously today. Once I got on the greens I was a s--z," he said at the time. He would later apologize in a statement through his spokeperson, who said Woods "meant nothing derogatory to any person or persons."