Beyonce to remove ‘ableist slur’ in new song after receiving backlash from fans

·2-min read
Beyoncé has agreed to remove an ableist term in new song after backlash  (beyonce.com)
Beyoncé has agreed to remove an ableist term in new song after backlash (beyonce.com)

Beyoncé has agreed to remove an offensive slur made in her new album Renaissance, after receiving backlash from listeners.

The 40-year-old superstar released her long-awaited seventh album on Friday July 29 and, while the project has been praised worldwide, one track perturbed listeners over its use of a term deemed ableist.

In the song Heated, Beyoncé references an ableist term in the outro, saying: “Sp***in’ on that a**, sp** on that a**.”

Beyoncé spoke the slur in song Heated from her new album Renaissance (beyonce.com)
Beyoncé spoke the slur in song Heated from her new album Renaissance (beyonce.com)

The term used evolves from the word ‘spastic’, and is considered an offensive phrase to the disabled community, specifically those suffering with cerbral palsy in the UK.

Beyoncé is now to replace the term, as her publicist told Sky News the phrase was not “used intentionally in a harmful way”. The Standard has contacted the singer’s representatives for further comment.

US singer Lizzo was criticised for using the same slur in her song Grrrls in June, and later re-released the song with the phrase removed.

Across the Atlantic, the word is more commonly used in replacement of the saying ‘freaking out’. Fans from both sides of the pond voiced their concerns on the slur choice.

Disability advocate Hannah Diviney tweeted: “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.”

“Guess I’ll just keep telling the whole industry to ‘do better’ until ableist slurs disappear from music.”

Another fan wrote: “Beyoncé using a slur generally directed at disabled people in her music is very disappointing. Especially when it’s the same slur that another big artist was called out for recently using in one of their songs.”

Lizzo received critiscism for using the same slur in song Grrrls and later removed it (PA Archive)
Lizzo received critiscism for using the same slur in song Grrrls and later removed it (PA Archive)

Diviney added in a piece on Hireup: “Beyoncé’s commitment to storytelling musically and visually is unparalleled, as is her power to have the world paying attention to the narratives, struggles and nuanced lived experience of being a black woman – a world I can only ever understand as an ally, and have no desire to overshadow.

“But that doesn’t excuse her use of ableist language – language that gets used and ignored all too often.”

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