Lizzo is proof that being an ally is about action, not words!
Lizzo announced on Monday that she would be releasing a new version of her single “GRRRLS” after facing online backlash for a lyric in the song that has ableist meaning.
Initially dropped on June 10, “GRRRLS” is the second single from Lizzo's album Special, out next month. In the original version of the song, Lizzo sings in the opening verse: “Hold my bag, b*tch / Hold my bag / Do you see this sh*t? / I’m a spaz / I'm about to knock somebody out."
A day later, disability advocate Hannah Diviney tweeted Lizzo to criticize the use of the word “spaz" in the lyrics, noting that the word is an “ableist slur.”
“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,” wrote Hannah. “‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
On June 13, Lizzo posted a statement to social media along with a red heart emoji in the caption. “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),” wrote Lizzo. “I'm proud to say there's a new version of GRRRLS 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.”
In the updated version of “GRRRLS," Lizzo swaps out the “harmful word” with the new lyric, “Hold me back.” Soon after Lizzo announced the change, Hannah replied with a tearful emoji.