Beyoncé will remove an insensitive term for disabled people from the song Heated, from her latest album Renaissance, after it was met with backlash from disability campaigners. According to the Grammy-winning singer’s representative, she will be re-recording the track. “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” read the statement.
The song, co-written by Canadian rapper Drake, uses the word ‘spazz’, which colloquially means temporarily losing control or acting erratically. However, disability campaigners recognized the word to be derived from ‘spastic’, which according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, is a movement disorder involving stiff muscles and awkward movement, suffered by 80% of people with cerebral palsy.
After the song’s release, Hannah Diviney, an Australian disability campaigner 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.”
So @Beyonce used the word 'spaz' in her new song Heated. 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 💔
— Hannah Diviney (@hannah_diviney) July 30, 2022
After Beyoncé’s response stated that she would remove the offensive word, Diviney tweeted, “Waking up this morning to hear Beyoncé has heard and recognized the disabled community’s call to remove ableist language from her music is an incredible feeling. Where she leads, the music industry follows”.
Waking up this morning to hear @Beyonce has heard and recognised the disabled community's call to remove ableist language from her music is an incredible feeling. Where she leads, the music industry follows. Big thank you to Bey + her team. I'm so grateful ❤️
— Hannah Diviney (@hannah_diviney) August 1, 2022
Renaissance is Beyoncé’s seventh solo studio album after Lemonade. The album mostly drew positive reviews from fans around the world with its disco and electronic dance genre.
Soon after it was released, Beyoncé shared the album artwork on Instagram and wrote, “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom.”