Respect Accessibility

Lizzo removes ‘harmful word’ from song: ‘I never want to promote derogatory language’

Lizzo on Friday released the song “Grrrls” as part of her upcoming album “Special.”
The Associated Press/Evan Agostini

Story at a glance


  • In the original release, the song has a lyric that uses the word “spaz,” which some view as a derogatory term for spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

  • The use of the word sparked backlash among fans and disability advocates who consider the word an ableist slur.

  • Lizzo on Monday responded with a public apology and announced the release of a new version of the song with the lyrics changed.

Pop star Lizzo has released a new version of her most recent single following criticism that she used an offensive term for diasbled people. 

Lizzo on Friday released the song “Grrrls” as part of her upcoming album “Special.” In the original release, the song has a lyric that uses the word “spaz,” which some view as a derogatory term for spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. 

The use of the word sparked backlash among fans and disability advocates who consider the word an ableist slur. 


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“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,” disability advocate Hannah Diviney tweeted. 

“‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”

Lizzo on Monday responded with a public apology and announced the release of a new version of the song with the lyrics changed. 

“It’s been brought to my attention that there is a harmful word in my new song ‘GRRRLS.’ Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” Lizzo said in an Instagram post. 

“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). I’m proud to say there’s a new version of GRRRLS with a lyric change. This is the 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,” Lizzo wrote.