Beyonce will replace an offensive lyric on her just released Renaissance album after a line in the track “Heated” drew backlash from users on social media. A spokesperson for the singer says so Billboard in a statement Monday morning (Aug. 1) that “the word that is not intentionally used in a harmful way will be replaced.”
At press time, it appeared that the recorded version – complete with the offending lyrics – was still available on Apple Music and Spotify. In the uptempo dance song, Beyoncé drops into a crazy, explicit sex rap near the end, growling: “Yadda yadda yah, yadda yadah yah,yah/ Yadda yadda yadda, bom bom, kah kah/ Spazzin’ on that ass/ Spaz on that ass/ Damn me quick girl, I need my glass.”
The medical condition the slang term originates from is, “spastic,” which refers to a “condition in which muscles stiffen or tighten, preventing normal fluid movement.” In addition to social media backlash, disability advocate and author Hannah Diviney wrote an op-ed in The Guardian on Monday (Aug. 1), where she said her “heart sank” when she heard Renaissance lyric. “It’s not very often that I don’t know what to say, rendered speechless by ignorance, sadness and a simmering anger born of bone-deep exhaustion. But that’s how I feel right now,” said Diviney and noted that it’s only been 6 weeks since she called out. Lizzo to use the same word on her Particular the song “Grrrls.”
“My tweet – which explained how the difficulty was linked to my disability, cerebral palsy – took me less than five minutes to write and it went viral, landing on the front pages of global news media, including the BBC, New York Times and Washington Post,” Diviney said of the comment that resulted in Lizzo apologise to use the offensive term and then change the lyrics.
At the time, Lizzo said she was “proud” of her “listening and action” after hearing Diviney’s call. As of press time, Beyoncé did not appear to have personally responded to the outrage, which Diviney wrote she believed to be in the past. “I thought we had changed the music industry and started a global conversation about why artful language—consciously or not—has no place in music,” Diviney said. “But I guess I was wrong, because now Beyoncé has gone and done the exact same thing,” she added of “Heated,” which counts Drake as a co-writer.
“I found out from a snarky comment on Twitter asking if I was going to tell Queen Bey to ‘make it better’ like I had with Lizzo. My heart sank. Here we were again, but this time the stakes felt higher. Calling this one out is a whole other level. When Beyoncé so much as breathes, it becomes a cultural moment,” Diviney said.
“Beyoncé’s commitment to storytelling musically and visually is unparalleled, as is her power to make the world aware of the narratives, struggles, and nuanced lived experience of being a black woman—a world I can only ever understand as an ally , and have no desire to overshadow,” she added. “But that does not excuse her use of skillful language – language that is used and ignored all too often. Language you can be sure I will never ignore, no matter who it comes from or what the circumstances are.”
While Bey Hive exploded with excitement over the weekend about the dance-heavy collection, it has already received some extra backlash from singer Kelis, who vented her frustration last week about not being informed that her oft-sampled 2003 single “Milkshake” was interpolated on Renaissance the song “Energy”.
While Kelis appeared to be stung by what she considered a lack of professional courtesy from Queen Bey in allegedly not reaching out to inform her of the “Milkshake” mash-in, legal experts noted that because Kelis was a performer, but not a composer-producer, on the song, there was no legal requirement to give a heads up.