CELEBRITY

Beyoncé forced to change song lyrics after fan outrage

Queen B is under fire for using an ableist slur.
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Reps for Beyoncé have confirmed the singer will remove a lyric from her song ‘Heated’ after activists called out its ableist connotations.

The song appears on Bey’s most recent album, Renaissance, and contains a term for spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, that most Australian and UK listeners consider derogetory. 

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“The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” a statement to Insider said.

Beyoncé is the second star this year to be called out for ableist language. In June, Lizzo changed a lyric in her hit ‘Grrrls’ after Australian writer and disability advocate Hannah Diviney called her out on Twitter.

“As a fat Black woman in America, I have had many hurtful words used against me so I understand the power words can have (whether intentionally, or in my case, unintentionally.)” Lizzo said at the time.

Lizzo
Lizzo changed her lyrics in Grrrls earlier this year (Credit: Getty)

Writing for The Guardian, Hannah said she was disappointed this had happened again but glad Beyonce was willing to address the situation.

“I thought we’d changed the music industry and started a global conversation about why ableist language – intentional or not – has no place in music,” she wrote.

“Language you can be sure I will never ignore, no matter who it comes from or what the circumstances are.”

On Twitter the response has mixed, particularly since the term isn’t always considered derogatory in the US.

“So Beyoncé apparently also used [a slur] and is now gonna change the lyric. So now American artists have to search the globe to make sure they’re (sic) American slang terms don’t offend ppl in any other country even if they have completely different meanings?” one user wrote.

However, most fans have reacted positively pointing out that it reflects Beyoncé’s commitment to inclusivity.

Beyonce insert next to picture of tweet
Hannah Diviney called out Beyoncé and Lizzo on Twitter (Credit: Getty/Twitter)

“If Beyoncé and Lizzo agreed to change the lyrics to their song why are people on Twitter making a big deal about it? If the artist themselves can see room for growth and change in lyrical content why can’t everybody else see that?” wrote one fan.

UK disability charity Sense praised Bey for making the change.

“We recognise that the word was not used intentionally to cause harm but words have power and can reinforce negative attitudes marginalised groups face.

“We want to thank Beyoncé for listening and look forward to getting on with enjoying the record.”

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