Image source: Getty / NDZ / Star Max

Face offers more context regarding her change of lyrics in her song “Grrrls.” Back in June, she released a new version of the track in response to fan criticism of the original version’s Ableist term. The original song contained the word “spaz”, which is considered offensive as it refers to spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. On June 13, Lizzo delivered a critique in a statement shared on her social media accounts.

“I just found out that my new song ‘GRRRLS’ has a bad word in it,” she wrote. “Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote abusive language. As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had a lot of hurtful words used against me, so I transcend the power that words can have (whether on purpose, or in my case, unintentionally). I am proud to say that there is a new version of GRRRLS with a change in lyrics. This is the result of me listening and taking action. As an influencer, I am committed to being part of the change I hope to see in the world.”

“The music I make is about feeling good and being authentic to me. The use of profanity is not okay with me, but I didn’t know it was a profanity.’

A few months later Lizzo in her cover for Fair of vanity, published on October 11. “I’ve never heard it used as a slur against people with disabilities, ever,” she explained. “The music I make is about feeling good and being real to me. Using profanity is not real to me, but I didn’t know it was a profanity. I’ve heard that word a lot, especially in rap songs, and with my black friends and in my black circles: it means to leave, to appear. I used [it as a] verb, not as a noun or adjective. I used it the way it is used in the black community. The internet brought it to my attention, but no [have been enough] make me change something.’

As for the backlash she received, Lizzo said, “Nina Simone changed the lyrics — isn’t she an artist? Language changes from generation to generation; Nina Simone said that you can’t be an artist and not reflect the times. So am I not an artist and reflect time and learning and listening to people and making conscious changes in the way we relate to language and help people in the way we relate to people in the future?”

Lizzo’s new version of “Grrrls” replaces her original controversial line with “hold me back.” The change pleased many of her original critics, including disability advocate Hannah Diviney, whose initial criticism of Lizzo’s use of the term took to Twitter. “Hey @lizzo, my cerebral palsy disability is literally classified as spastic diplegia (where spasticity refers to an endless painful cramp in my legs). Your new song makes me very angry and sad. “Spaz” doesn’t mean I’m crazy or nuts ate,” she said. tweeted on June 11. “That’s a nasty swear word.”

In response to Lizzie’s change on June 13, Divini wrote: “I’m going to cry. Thank you so much for hearing us out, Face, and understanding that it always meant just gentle, and being open to learning, it honestly means the world. You are a true loyal ally.”

After Lizzo changed her lyrics to “Grrrls”, Beyoncé followed suit and changed the string in her song “Heated” from “Renaissance” after fans accused her of using the same slur. A rep for the singer previously told POPSUGAR, “A word that is not used in a malicious way will be replaced.” In the original track, Beyoncé sang “Spazzin’ on that ass, spaz on that ass.”

Face and Beyoncé’s quick response to changing lyrics shows that artists have the ability address criticism and owning up to your mistakes to promote inclusiveness in your work, rather than ignoring them or lashing out at a “cancellation culture”. Awareness and responsibility are essential to changing the behavior of artists and society at large.