Lizzo addresses slur used in her lyrics
Lizzo has said she had never heard of the offensive term she used in one of her songs which caused controversy earlier this year.
The American singer faced backlash after lyrics to her song ‘Grrrls’ - off the ‘Special’ album - included the word ‘Spaz’, short for the derogatory term ‘spastic’ used to describe people with cerebral palsy.
Lizzo’s original lyrics read: “Hold my bag, bitch, hold my bag / Do you see this shit? I'm a spaz.’
Following controversy the lyrics were changed to “Do you see this shit? / Hold me back”
In a new interview with Vanity Fair Lizzo said: “I’d never heard it used as a slur against disabled people, never ever. The music I make is in the business of feeling good and being authentic to me. Using a slur is unauthentic [sic] to me, but I did not know it was a slur.’
The term ‘Spastic’ was accepted in society until it became an insult and abused by those referring to a person who is uncoordinated or incompetent.
“It’s a word I’ve heard a lot, especially in rap songs,” Lizzo explained. “And with my Black friends and in my Black circles: It means to go off, turn up. I used [it as a] verb, not as a noun or adjective. I used it in the way that it’s used in the Black community.”
She added: “Language changes generationally; Nina Simone said you cannot be an artist and not reflect the times.
“So am I not being an artist and reflecting the times and learning, listening to people, and making a conscious change in the way we treat language, and help people in the way we treat people in the future?”
In 1994 Consertative MP Terry Dicks referred to himself in a House of Commons debate as "a spastic with cerebral palsy".