Beyoncé: Heated song lyrics on Renaissance album, what is an ‘ableist’ slur - and did Lizzo use the same word?

In a statement, the singer’s representatives said the word was ‘not used intentionally in a harmful way’

Beyoncé has announced she will re-record the song Heated on her new Renaissance album with a lyric change after fans criticised the use of an ‘ableist’ slur.

Disability charities and activists called out the word for being “ableist” and “offensive.”

It comes only a month after Lizzo was called out for using the same word in her hit song GRRRLS.

Beyoncé has also confirmed she will remove the sample of Kelis’ song that the singer accused her of using without credit.

Whilst there have been further calls from Monika Lewinski to remove a lyric in the new album about her affair with former president Bill Clinton.

Whilst some fans have expressed their disappointed, others have called out the double standard that problematic lyrics by white recording artists are not held to this level of scrutiny.

Here’s everything you need to know about what an ableist slur is and what Beyoncé has said.

Beyoncé has announced she will be re-recording the song on her new album (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

What is an ableist slur?

Ableism is the discrimination against people with disabilities.

It defines people by their disability, implying that people with disabled need fixing.

UK charity Scope describes ableism as “discrimination in favour of non-disabled people.”

Examples of ableism they give include:

  • No ramp to help a wheelchair user get on to a train
  • Having steps instead of a ramp to access a shop
  • Making assumptions about what a disabled person can or cannot do
  • Not making reasonable adjustments at work

What did the song Heated say?

The song Heated was co-written with Canadian rapper Drake.

Its lyrics used a derogatory term for spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.

The lyric in question used two variations of the word repeatedly including, “sp*zzn” and “sp*z”.

In the UK, the word is an extremely derogatory term for people with disabilities.

In response to the lyric UK charity Sense tweeted that it was: “disappointing that another artist is using an offensive term in their song so soon after it was pointed out how hurtful the word is”.

After the star announced the lyric would be re-recorded the charity followed up their tweet.

They said: “Pleased to hear that @Beyonce is re-recording Heated to remove the ableist term. Words are important because they can reinforce negative attitudes that disabled people face every day. But we can all listen to other perspectives, learn and adjust.

“Thank you to everyone who spoke up online. It shows how we can break down the barriers of misunderstanding and communication disabled people contend with if we raise awareness.”

Is it the same word Lizzo used?

Beyoncé and Lizzo used the same word in their songs which was called out by fans.

Lizzo had originally used the word in her single GRRRLS, from her Special album, released in July.

Lizzo performs live from Miami Beach at the Platinum Studio for American Express UNSTAGED Final 2021 Performance at Miami Beach EDITION on December 04, 2021 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for American Express)

The Juice singer took to social media to apologise to fans and announce she would be re-recording the lyric.

In a statement she said: “It’s been brought to my attention that there si a harmful word in my new song “GRRRLS”. Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language.

“As a far black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me so I overstand the power words can have (whether intentionally on 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. Xoxo, Lizzo”

What has Beyoncé said?

Beyoncé released a statement through her representatives confirming she would change the lyric.

Her representative told Insider: “The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced.”