TikTok’s Disabled Community Forgave Lizzo After She Used An Insult

  • Listeners to Lizzo’s new single “Grrrls” were quick to criticize her use of a capable slur.
  • Within a few days, Lizzo apologized and re-released the song with new lyrics.
  • The disabled community on TikTok hopes celebrities will take note of how Lizzo handled the situation.

When Lizzo released her new single “Grrrls” on June 10, fans noticed a problem. Listeners quickly pointed out that there was a deft insult in the lyrics – “spaz”, a shortened version of the word “spastic”, which is a term often used as an insult to describe someone who has difficulty controlling their muscles and movements due to a disability. .

The word is used most in the UK and least in the US, but it immediately caught the attention of the disabled community on TikTok. Popular creators including Shelby Lynch, who has 429,000 followers, Imani Barbarin, who has 428,000, and smaller ones like Jo Copson, who has just under 4,000, chimed in on the conversation when “Grrrls” was released. They expressed disappointment with Lizzo, especially because of her reputation as an advocate and celebrator of body positivity and inclusivity.

In less than 48 hours, Lizzo quickly responded to the criticism and re-released the song without the offending lyrics, becoming an apology that most of the community was more than happy to accept.

TikTok was inundated with creators expressing their shock at the lyrics

Creators took to TikTok to express their concern about “Grrrls” shortly after its release. TikToker @itsabigaillea, for example, said that words like the one she used are “so harmful, painful and offensive to the disabled community

“I know that word is more casual and commonly used in the US,” she added in a now-deleted video. “But that doesn’t mean it’s okay. It’s still a word to mock people with disabilities, especially those with cerebral palsy and those who have coordination problems.”

Jay Audrey, a creator who shares his experiences with chronic illness on TikTok, where they have 27,000 followers, told Insider they were disappointed when they first heard the song.

“We are all so used to hearing casual language that it hurts us,” they said. “So it hurts when a celebrity you really admire perpetuates that.”

Creator JexxyP, who doesn’t use her real name online for privacy reasons, shares her experience of living with chronic pain on her TikTok, where she has 14,000 followers. She said her initial response was “shock” that the word passed through so many people over the course of the song’s development “without anyone realizing it could be problematic”.

“Lizzo’s whole ethos is about positivity and inclusion,” she said. “It felt strange that this didn’t extend to the disabled community.”

Disabled creators welcomed Lizzo’s apology with open arms

But those feelings were short-lived. Within 48 hours of the barrage of criticism, Lizzo apologized in a statement on Instagram, saying she never meant to promote derogatory language and understood the power words can have.

“As an influential artist, I am dedicated to being a part of the change I hope to see in the world,” she said in the statement, adding that she would remove the insult from the track and re-release it.

Creators with disabilities welcomed his apology with open arms, and many deleted his critical videos, replacing them with messages of thanks.

Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK, told Insider that the language has evolved over time. Certain words, like the one in Lizzo’s song, may have been accepted 30 years ago, but they aren’t anymore. When words that harm the disabled community appear in popular culture, he said raising this point in a way that articulates why it’s wrong can have positive results.

“We always want to see people who use language that way, and if they’re shown why it’s not acceptable, they learn and change, accept and recognize that they were wrong,” he said. “And this was a good example.”

Audrey said they were “so proud and so happy” with Lizzo’s apology. They said a motto they try to live by is that the only apology that matters is behavior change, and Lizzo has “made a fuss here” by taking the time to change the music as quickly as possible without playing “victim.” ” in all . Audrey added that she hopes this kind of self-reflection will be the norm when public figures are called in in the future.

“To get there, we have to affirm, support and praise the people who set this example,” they said. “Shout the spotlight on what she’s doing right; that’s what matters.”

JexxyP said Lizzo is “leading the way” and hopes other artists and celebrities will follow suit. Viewers of the situation should be reminded that anyone can become disabled at any point in their lives, she said, because “people tend to forget about it.”

“We live our lives being incredibly excluded from society, whether it’s due to accessibility or just people’s opinions and viewpoints,” she said. “It was nice to feel really truly heard.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: