Why Are Beyoncé And Lizzo Removing ‘Spaz’ From Their Songs?

After some years away, both Beyoncé and Lizzo returned with new albums this year. Beyoncé’s newly-released seventh album Renaissance marks her first full-length effort since 2016’s Lemonade. Renaissance clocked in with 16 songs and features from Beam, Tems, and Grace Jones as well as additional contributors including Drake, Jay-Z, Syd, and others. On the flip side, Lizzo released her fourth album Special earlier this month and that arrived with 12 songs and no guest features. Renaissance and Special don’t share many similar qualities, but there is one thing they both have in common: they both have songs that were criticized thanks to their use of the word “spaz.”

Why Are Beyoncé And Lizzo Removing ‘Spaz’ From Their Songs?

Lizzo was the first to receive criticism for using the word “spaz” and it came after she released “Grrrls” from Special. In a line from the song she sings, “Hold my bag, b*tch, Hold my bag. Do you see this sh*t? I’mma spazz.” Beyoncé’s case comes more recently thanks to “Heated” from Renaissance. In that song, Beyoncé sings, “Spazzin’ on that ass, spaz on that ass / Fan me quick, girl, I need my glass.”

Merriam-Webster defines “spaz” as “one who is inept” and it categorizes the term as “slang, often offensive.” The word itself comes from “spastic” and “spasticity,” and according to a paper published by the National Library Of Medicine, the latter word “is a velocity-dependent increase in muscle tone and uncontrolled, repetitive, involuntary contractions of skeletal muscles.” With that being, the word “spaz” is viewed as an ableist term for those with cerebral palsy, also known as “spastic diplegia.”

As a result of the derogatory nature of “spaz,” Lizzo altered the line in “Grrrls” while a rep for Beyonce promised to do the same for the line on “Heated.”

Lizzo is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.