Beyonce to re-record “offensive lyric” on Renaissance after heavy pressure
Multi Grammy-award-winning pop star Beyoncé is to re-record one of the songs on her new album, after facing criticism from disability campaigners.
The song Heated, which was released on Friday, contained a derogatory term that has often been used to demean people with spastic cerebral palsy.
The star’s publicist told the BBC the word, which can have different connotations in the US, was “not used intentionally in a harmful way”.
It “will be replaced in the lyrics”, they added, without giving a timescale. The backlash came just a couple of weeks after US pop star Lizzo apologized for using the same word in her song GRRRLS.
When fans heard Beyoncé’s track on Friday, it felt “like a slap in the face”, disability advocate Hannah Diviney told the BBC.
“I’m tired and frustrated that we’re having this conversation again so soon after we got such a meaningful and progressive response from Lizzo”.
Disability charity Scope also asked Beyoncé to re-record the song, omitting the insult.
“Words matter because they reinforce the negative attitudes disabled people face every day,” said media manager Warren Kirwan.
“Beyoncé has long been a champion of inclusivity and equality, so we’d urge her to remove this offensive lyric.”
Other fans defended the star, pointing out that the term can have a different meaning in the US – where it is often used to mean “freaking out” or “going crazy” (although those terms can themselves be insensitive to people with mental health conditions).
Despite the controversy, Beyoncé’s seventh studio album, Renaissance, is expected to top the charts around the world this week.
In the UK, it is currently outselling the rest of the top five combined. The lead single, Break My Soul, is also expected to top the charts.