Lizzo has removed an offensive term for disabled people from her latest song after days of public criticism, saying she “never want[ed] to promote derogatory language”.
Grrrls, the latest track from the musician’s upcoming album Special, was released on Friday. In the opening verse, the pop star – who has become well-known for her lyrics championing acceptance and self-love – used a derogatory term for spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy.
The song was almost immediately criticised by fans and disability advocates, with tweets and TikToks explaining the history and offensive nature of the term being shared and liked hundreds of thousands of times.
Lizzo released a written public apology on Monday.
“It has 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,” she wrote. “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.)”
She said she was proud to release a new version of the song with a changed lyric.
“This is the result of me listening and taking action,” she wrote. “As an influential artist I’m dedicated to being part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world.”
As the song had yet to be released as a physical purchase, the previous version of Grrrls has been replaced on streaming services and digital stores with the new lyric “hold me back”.
Special is set to be released in July.