After facing online backlash and criticism from disability campaigners, Beyoncé announced via Twitter on Saturday that she would remove an ableist slur from her new album, “Renaissance,” which was released Friday. The 40-year-old singer received rave reviews when she debuted her dance-inspired seventh studio album and its accompanying music video on Friday, but she came under fire over the weekend when fans noticed the inclusion of a derogatory term in the song “Heated.” In the track, co-written by Drake, Beyoncé sings the line: “Spazzin’ on that ass, spazz on that ass.”
The word “spaz” is often used colloquially to describe “freaking out” or “going crazy,” but the term is actually derived from the word “spastic,” which is considered demeaning to people with spastic cerebral palsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) this disorder affects an individual’s ability to control their muscles, especially in their arms and legs. Disability advocate Hannah Diviney wrote on Twitter: “So @Beyonce used the word ‘sp**’ in her new song ‘Heated’. Feels like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community and the progress we tried to make with Lizzo.” 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 were eagerly anticipating Beyoncé’s new album, “Renaissance,” after the singer released her first single in June. The song was her first full-length album since 2016’s “Lemonade.” On Instagram, the singer opened up about her creative process: “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.” After fans accused Beyoncé of using the term “retarded” in the lyrics of one song, she edited it out before the album’s release.