Lizzo Announces New Version of ‘GRRRLS’ After Backlash Over Ableist Lyric


Lizzo at Global Citizen Live on Sept. 25, 2021 in New York City.
NDZ/Star Max/GC Images

After Lizzo received backlash for using the word “spaz” in her new single, “GRRRLS,” the star is taking accountability and action.

“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song ‘GRRRLS,’” she wrote in a statement posted to Twitter on Monday (June 13). “Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language. As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me so I overstand the power words can have (whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally).”

She continued, “I’m proud to say there’s a new version of GRRRLS with a lyric change. This is a result of me listening and taking action. As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”

Over the weekend, fans took to social media to call out the singer for her choice to use the word “spaz” in the new song’s opening verse. “Hold my bag, b—h/ Hold my bag/ Do you see this s–t?/ I’m a spaz/ I’m about to knock somebody out/ Yo, where my best friend?/ She the only one I know to talk me off the deep end,” she sings over the sample of “Girls” by the Beastie Boys.)

“Hey @lizzo my disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs) your new song makes me pretty angry + sad. ‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better,” one Twitter user explained.

While at the time of publication, the version of “GRRRLS” on streaming services still features the original lyric, the updated version will likely appear ahead of Lizzo’s full length album, Special, set to arrive on July 15 via Nice Life Recording Company/Atlantic Records.


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