Beyoncé to remove albeist slur from "Renaissance" song after backlash

Aug 2 2022, 3:19 pm

Editor’s note: This article mentions and discusses the use of an ableist slur.

Beyoncé will remove a derogatory term used to describe people with disabilities from a song on her new album, Renaissance, after facing backlash from the disability community.

“Heated,” the 11th track on the album, has the word “spaz” in its lyrics:

“Spazzin’ on that ass, spaz on that ass”

According to the National Center on Disability and Journalism, “spaz” or “spastic” is an offensive term used to refer to someone with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy refers to a number of neurological disorders that “permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination,” explains the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

A common type is spastic cerebral palsy, which causes stiff and exaggerated movements.

“The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” a spokeswoman for Beyoncé said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday.



Many from the disability community were disappointed, as the same slur was used by another popular artist last month.

Lizzo’s second single “GRRRLS” off her new album, Special, also contained the derogatory term, which has since been removed.

“So @Beyonce used the word ‘spaz’ in her new song ‘Heated.’ Feels like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community & the progress we tried to make with Lizzo,” tweeted disability advocate Hannah Diviney. “Guess I’ll just keep telling the whole industry to ‘do better’ until ableist slurs disappear from music 💔”

But many in the Black community are defending the use of the word, saying that it’s a term used in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) that isn’t referring to people with disabilities.

“Spaz is not a slur, not in the way Beyoncé and Lizzo used it,” explained one Twitter user. “It’s a slang that is referring to a type of jumpiness or general hyper activeness.”

“AAVE is a language. Just like the term black in Spanish is a slur in English. Terms and context,” another person tweeted.

Others pointed out that Black female artists are being accused of ableism, while white artists who use the same slurs are safe from criticism.

Another Twitter user disagreed saying that “it’s not ‘an attack on Black folks’ because Black disabled folks expressed discomfort too.”

Renaissance dropped last Friday and is Beyoncé’s long-awaited seventh studio album.

Isabelle DoctoIsabelle Docto

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