Beyoncé Will Change Lyrics After Being Accused Of Using ‘Ability Slur’
“I thought we had changed the music industry and started a global conversation about why ableist language – intentional or not – has no place in music,” Diviney wrote in an article on Sunday. originally appeared on Hireup, an online platform for people with disabilities. “But I guess I was wrong.”
Fans told Lizzo that one word in her song was offensive. She changed the lyrics.
On Saturday, Diviney was having dinner with her family when she noticed a “sarcastic mention” in her Twitter feed, asking if she was planning on scolding Beyoncé for “doing it better” like she did with Lizzo, Diviney told the Washington Post. in an online message. Confused, Diviney began digging, eventually learning that Beyoncé had used the words “spaz” and “spazzin'” in “Heated,” a song Drake co-wrote.
“My heart sank. We were here again,” Diviney wrote in her op-ed.
About seven weeks before Beyoncé dropped “Heated,” Lizzo released “Grrrls,” a song in which she describes “getting deep,” The Post reported. ” I’m crazy ; I’m about to knock somebody out,” she sings.
The following day, Diviney lambasted Lizzo and implored the artist to “do better”. Lizzo took the message, quickly apologizing in a statement and announcing that she had changed the lyrics.
This comforted Diviney. She had criticized a powerful person, who instead of hunkering down or lashing out at her, not only listened but brought about concrete change. For Diviney, it was proof that she and other disability advocates were winning hearts and minds and were ready to keep on doing so.
“It’s not every day that the change you’re making in the world is globally tangible and recognizable,” she told the Post early Tuesday. “To me, getting this response from Lizzo suggests that people are more open than ever to conversations about inclusivity and disability representation.”
Then came Saturday night, when she learned that “spaz” was reappearing on Beyoncé’s new album.
Diviney said she “spent the rest of the night processing and figuring out how I was going to react and if I was brave enough to call out someone as untouchable and enigmatic as Beyoncé, especially knowing how how passionate his fans are.”
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Lizzo is famous, but Beyoncé is on another level, Diviney said. The 28-time Grammy winner spent decades at the top of the music industry. She’s an unparalleled visual and musical storyteller who is still an artistic trailblazer and “often the role model of the music industry,” Diviney wrote in her opinion piece Hireup. And she used “her power to make the world pay attention to the stories, the struggles and the nuanced lived experience of being a black woman – a world that I can only understand as an ally, and that I I have no desire to eclipse”.
“But that doesn’t excuse his use of ableist language – language that is too often used and ignored,” Diviney wrote, adding, “It doesn’t excuse the fact that the teams of people involved in making this album kind of missed all the noise the disability community made just six weeks ago when Lizzo did the same thing.
“I’m so tired. People with disabilities deserve better. I don’t want to have this conversation anymore.
But Diviney did. She wrote the editorial. She called out Beyoncé on Twitter. She has done television and newspaper interviews. And she resisted the vitriol thrown her way by the trolls. She posted a screenshot of a tweet that taunted her saying, “You’ll never work out,” to which she replied, “I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. …Is this supposed to be news to me or???
Representatives for Beyoncé did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post on Tuesday morning or respond if the artist was aware of Lizzo’s “spaz” lyrics. But one told Insider in a statement that Beyoncé would change the lyrics.
“The word, not intentionally used in a harmful manner, will be replaced,” the statement read.
Diviney woke up in Australia on Tuesday morning to the news, which brought back the afterglow she enjoyed following the Lizzo affair.
“Waking up this morning to hear @Beyoncé heard and acknowledged the call from the disability community to remove ableist language from their music is an incredible feeling,” Diviney said on Twitter. “Where it leads, the music industry follows.”