After facing online backlash and criticism from disability campaigners, Beyoncé announced that she will remove an ableist slur from her new album, “Renaissance.” The 40-year-old singer received rave reviews when she debuted her dance-inspired seventh studio album on Friday, but she came under fire over the weekend when fans noticed the inclusion of a derogatory term in the song “Heated.” On the track, co-written by Drake, Beyoncé sings the line: “Spazzin’ on that ass, spazz on that ass.”
The word “spaz” was originally an offensive slur referring to people with cerebral palsy, but has since been reclaimed and used by some members of the disabled community. However, the word is still considered demeaning by many others, including disability advocate Hannah Diviney. “So @Beyonce used the word ‘sp**’ in her new song ‘Heated’,” Diviney wrote on Twitter. “Feels like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community and the progress we tried to make with Lizzo (who’s disabled). Guess I’ll just keep telling the whole industry to ‘do better’ until ableist slurs disappear from music.” Another commentator tweeted: “Screw you @Beyonce. You should be a role model, not making money from the lazy use of derogatory language. Shame on you.”
Fans waited with bated breath for Beyoncé’s new record, “Renaissance,” after the singer dropped the first single, “Break My Soul,” in June. It was her first full-length album since 2016’s “Lemonade.” Opening up about her creative process on Instagram, Beyoncé told fans: “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world.” She said her “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.” The singer’s decision to edit out certain words also comes after fellow entertainer Lizzo announced a new version of her song “GRRRLS” following complaints about her use of the same term from disabled community members.