Oh, the internet. The power of group think has evidently convinced Lizzo to change a lyric from her latest song “GRRRLS” after she was shamed for using the word “spaz” in one of the verses. As one person wrote, “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. ‘Spaz’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”
Another person said, “I’m disappointed @lizzo for using the word “sp@z” in her new song ‘Grrrls.’ There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022. As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.”
Lizzo heard their cries and decided to spring into action. On Monday (June 13), Lizzo accepted culpability for offending anyone with a Twitter post that read, “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. 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 a part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world. Xoxo, Lizzo.”
— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) June 13, 2022
Lizzo dropped “GRRRLS” last week, which uses a sample of the 1986 Beastie Boys’ single “Girls” from the trio’s debut Licensed To Ill. Had those offended by “spaz” been more familiar with the song’s origins, they’d probably be more outraged by the lyrics Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D were spitting at a time when misogyny, offensive language and sexism was basically celebrated. Live shows of that era featured women in cages dancing onstage and a giant hydraulic penis.
“Girls, to do the dishes,” they rapped. “Girls, to clean up my room/Girls, to do the laundry/Girls, and in the bathroom/Girls, that’s all I really want is girls/Two at a time, I want girls/With new wave hairdos, I want girls/I ought to whip out my…”
“Girls” was one of the songs MCA had in mind when he addressed some of Beastie Boys‘ less evolved lyrics later on in his career. On the 1994 song “Sure Shot,” Beastie Boys famously included a verse in which MCA explicitly apologized for the group’s past misogyny. Ad-Rock also wrote a letter to Time Out New York apologizing for the band’s past. In 1998, the Beasties publicly beefed with the Prodigy, asking them not to play the song “Smack My Bitch Up” at a festival where both acts were appearing.
As for “GRRRLS,” Lizzo originally sings, “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag/ Do you see this shit? I’m a spaz.” The new version has been updated to: “Hold my bag, bitch, Hold my bag/ Do you see this shit? Hold me back.” Listen to the updated version below before Special arrives on July 15.