As Beyoncé's latest album "Renaissance" continues to climb the charts, a line from her song "Heated" has fans calling out the artist for singing an ableist slur.
In the 11th track, ‘Heated, “I hate that people are also bringing up that they don’t personally think it’s offensive or don’t think it has bad connotations. Cool. But the disabled community, especially those with conditions who’ve had it weaponized against them abusively have disagreed. Listen to them.”
The song uses the word "spaz," to describe "freaking out" or "going crazy." However, the term is considered derogatory towards those with disabilities, as it is used medically to describe spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. The song is released a month after Lizzo's recent backlash for using the same term on her Album, Special.
Some listeners, including disability advocates, are unhappy with "Heated."
Hannah Diviney, a disability advocate, took to Twitter and wrote, "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. Guess I'll just keep telling the whole industry to 'do better' until ableist slurs disappear from music"
Hey! I was curious to know what actions you are taking to educate about ableist language? I must admit, I'm a bit confused. I see you're a Taylor Swift fan, but I didn't see you drawing attention to ableist language she's used. Things like this can be construed as anti-Black.
— Maya L (@mayalwrites) August 1, 2022
Many others were not happy with the ableist slur either.
Beyoncé is changing the lyrics to Heated as a way to show compassion for Disabled people who have been harmed by the sp*z slur.
It’s so unfortunate many of her fans aren’t showing the same compassion but instead are using this as an opportunity to be insensitive and ableist. ☹️
— 🏳️⚧️ Ash Bee Thee Enbee 🏳️⚧️ (@Hey_AshBee) August 1, 2022
So so disappointed that Beyoncé has used an ableist slur in Heated
It’s the same one Lizzo used (& corrected very gracefully)… this was high profile enough that the same mistake shouldn’t have happened again
So sick of non-disabled artists not recognising harm in their words
— Ju (@juliaisobela) August 1, 2022
Another Twitter user wrote, “I hate that people are also bringing up that they don’t personally think it’s offensive or don’t think it has bad connotations. Cool. But the disabled community, especially those with conditions who’ve had it weaponised against them abusively have disagreed. Listen to them.”
One listener took to Twitter in defense of the singer, arguing that ‘Heated’ was likely finalized before Lizzo's 'Grrls' was released.
It's very easy to say that Beyonce should have been more aware of the backlash of using that slur after what happened to Lizzo, but given the process of album manufacture, Beyonce's 'Heated' was likely finalised before Lizzo's 'Grrls' was released.
— hj (@bouquettragedy) August 2, 2022
“I promise you, that just because she is Beyoncé, doesn't mean she can move mountains. There are a lot of livelihoods involved in manufacturing physical releases, even more so when there's a vinyl release.,” the Twitter user concluded.
Following the controversy, Beyoncé’s team confirmed to Variety that the ableist slur will be removed from ‘Heated,’ and will be replaced with “Blastin’ on that a—, blast on that a—.”
“The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” a statement from Beyoncé’s team reads.
Beyoncé fans, also known as the Beyhive thanked Beyoncé for taking action and removing the slur.
Beyoncé’s rep has confirmed that the slur will be replaced.
This is exactly why it is important that we raise our concerns.
It’s not about cancelling or complaining, but about educating, and creating a more accepting society for disabled people. ❤️
— Callum Stephen (He/Him) (@AutisticCallum_) August 1, 2022