Lizzo: New track ‘Grrrls’ criticised for ‘ableist slur’ in lyrics

Some have called for the song to be taken down and re-uploaded with censored lyrics

Louis Chilton
Monday 13 June 2022 08:24 BST
Harry Styles performs Juice with Lizzo
Leer en Español

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Lizzo has been criticised for including an ableist slur in the lyrics to her new song “Grrrls”.

The track was released on Friday (10 June), and has already faced pushback from disability activists on social media.

In the opening verse, the artist, real name Melissa Jefferson, sings: “Hold my bag, b****, hold my bag / Do you see this s***? I’ma sp**.”

The term, derived from the word “spastic”, is considered more offensive in the UK than in the US, where it is often used as a synonym for “freaking out”.

However, the term’s usage and origins have been criticised by disability organisations on both sides of the Atlantic.

On social media, fans of Lizzo and disability activists condemned the lyric, with some calling on the musician to censor the offensive line.

“My disability Cerebral Palsy is literally classified as Spastic Diplegia (where spasticity refers to unending painful tightness in my legs) your new song makes me pretty angry + sad,” wrote advocate Hanah Diviney on Twitter.

“‘Sp**’ doesn’t mean freaked out or crazy. It’s an ableist slur. It’s 2022. Do better.”

“I’m disappointed in Lizzo for using the word “sp**” in her new song ‘Grrrls’,” wrote advocate Callum Stephen. “There’s no excuse for using an ableist insult in a song in 2022.”

He added: “As someone who champions women, plus size people and others whom society treats poorly, Lizzo preaches inclusivity and should do better.”

The Independent has contacted Lizzo’s representative for comment.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in