Lizzo Shares New Version of "Grrrls" Following Backlash over Ableist Lyric

"I never want to promote derogatory language"

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 14, 2022

After being criticized online for the inclusion of an ableist slur in her new song "Grrrls," Lizzo has responded to the backlash — and shared an updated version of the track, omitting the offensive lyric.

The pop star took to Twitter last night (June 13) to announce that she had heard the concern from her fans and disability advocates loud and clear: she recorded a new version of the track, which had originally been released on Friday (June 10) and is set to appear on her forthcoming sophomore LP Special. Lizzo wrote in a statement:

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 understand 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 part of the change I've been waiting to see in the world. Xoxo, Lizzo

The lyrics of the song's opening verse have been updated to: "Hold my bag, bitch / Hold my bag / Do you see this shit? / Hold me back." They had initially included an ableist term, colloquially used as a synonym for "freak out" (or "freak" as a noun), derived from the medical designation of spastic diplegia, a.k.a. cerebral palsy — a group of conditions that affect movement, balance and muscle tone.

The singer-songwriter has been praised for taking accountability and responding proactively to the harm her inclusion of the lyric had caused.

"I want to give Lizzo her flowers," writer Clementine/Chrysanthemum Williams tweeted. "She set the bar for accountability. Within three days she acknowledged the concerns of the disabled community and is rereleasing the song. I want it to be remembered that a Black woman set the precedent for what accountability should be."
Listen to "Grrrls" below.


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