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02nd Aug 2022

Beyonce to remove slur from new song after facing backlash

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Only a month after Lizzo’s controversy.

Only weeks after the controversy Lizzo faced in a similar situation, Beyonce has found herself facing a lot of backlash after the release of her latest album Renaissance.

Prompting backlash from both fans and disability activists, Beyonce has said she will replace an offensive term she used in her new song Heated.

Co-written by Drake, the song includes an ableist slur and can be heard twice in the song, referring to someone with cerebral palsy – a condition that affects someone’s muscle coordination.

Unlike Lizzo when she used the same slur in her song Grrrls, Beyonce failed to release an apology but her representatives have confirmed that the word was “not used intentionally in a harmful manner” and will be replaced.

In a statement to PA news agency, a spokesperson said: “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful manner, will be replaced in the lyrics.”

Speaking about the lyric change, UK disability equality charity Scope released a statement welcoming the news.

Scope’s media manager Warren Kirwan said: “It’s good Beyoncé has acted so swiftly after disabled people yet again called out this thoughtless lyric.

“There’s a feeling of déjà vu, as it’s just a few weeks since Lizzo also had to re-release a song after featuring the same offensive language.

“We hope this is the last time we see this kind of thing from anyone, let alone musicians with massive global influence.

“Everyone has a role to play by speaking out when they hear offensive language being used to refer to disabled people.”

Lizzo found herself in a similar situation last month after the release of Grrrls, with various disability charities and disabled content creators calling her out on the lyric, with many US-based creators actually saying the word wasn’t a slur there.

Almost immediately after the song began getting backlash, Lizzo got wind of it. Grrrls was released on June 10th and by June 13th, she had apologised and announced a new version was on the way.

Within three days, she had made things right. It took three days for Lizzo to publically condemn her own actions and own up to what she had done, even though she only learned, herself, that it was an offensive term.