Beyonce is receiving some HEAT because of her single “HEATED”.
On Friday, July 29th, Beyoncé debuted her highly anticipated album Renaissance. While the beyhive members spent that weekend praising the album, one community felt the opposite. Beyoncé’s track “Heated”, co-written by Drake features the word “spaz” to which the disabled community took offense. The lyrics read “Spazzin’ on that ass, spazz on that ass.”
In an op-ed republished on The Guardian, Hanna Diviney, a disability advocate expressed her disappointment in both the Beyoncé & her team. Diviney labeled the pop singer an ableist, who has power to “make the world pay attention to narratives”.
So @Beyonce used the word 'spaz' in her new song Heated. Feels like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community & the progress we tried to make with Lizzo. Guess I'll just keep telling the whole industry to 'do better' until ableist slurs disappear from music 💔
— Hannah Diviney (@hannah_diviney) July 30, 2022
Colloquially, the term “spaz” is often used as “overly energetic” or “hyper-active”. However in the medical field, “spastic” refers to a disability that makes it difficult for people to control their muscles, especially in their arms and legs. According to Variety, Beyoncé’s team will remove the lyric.
The backlash comes weeks after pop singer Lizzo, faced similar backlash for her use of “spaz” in her song “Grrrls”. After witnessing the swarm of complaints, on June 13th, Lizzo apologized to her fans and the disabled community.
“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 a part of the change I’ve been waiting to see in the world. Xoxo, Lizzo.”
Despite the recent backlash, Renaissance has already earned the biggest opening-day streams for an album by a female artist on Spotify this year with 43.25 million streams so far.