Beyonce’s seventh studio album, Renaissance, premiered on July 29 to great acclaim, however one line in the song “Heated” offended many listeners on social media. According to Variety, during a lyric where Beyonce sings, “Spazzin’ on that ass, spazz on that ass,” the term “spaz” appears in the song. Spasticity is a term used in medicine to describe a condition that makes it challenging for patients to control their muscles, particularly in their arms and legs. Renaissance: Netizens Are in Awe of Beyonce’s New Album, Her First in Six Years.
The lyric will be removed, the singer’s camp confirmed to Variety. “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” a statement from Beyonce’s team reads. The lyric was criticized as ableist and offensive on social media, and it even inspired an essay published in The Guardian in which writer Hannah Diviney wrote, “Beyonce’s commitment to storytelling musically and visually is unparalleled, as is her power to have the world paying attention to the narratives, struggles and nuanced lived experience of being a Black woman…”
“But that doesn’t excuse her use of ableist language.” Beyonce’s decision to remove the ableist lyric follows Lizzo’s decision to do the same. Lizzo used the same term in her song “Grrrls” off her latest album, Special. In the original track, Lizzo sang: “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag/ Do you see this shit? I’m a spaz.” The new version of the song finds Lizzo singing: “Hold my bag, bitch, Hold my bag/ Do you see this shit? Hold me back.”
“Let’s make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo wrote on social media while announcing the lyric change. The singer added that she was “proud” to have taken the steps to “listen and take action.”
Beyonce has faced numerous controversies since the release of Renaissance, and outrage over the obscene phrase is far from the only one. Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Lizzo Joke About ‘Yellow’ Being Her Hook-Up Song.
Singer Kelis constantly criticised Beyonce for using a sample of her 2003 song “Milkshake” without giving her prior notice after the album leaked online two days before its scheduled release. It’s stealing, not a collaboration, Kelis declared. It’s doubtful that Beyonce’s team was legally obligated to let Kelis know about the sample since the singer isn’t listed as a songwriter on “Milkshake.