Beyoncé to revise lyric used as ableist slur in UK

Following the example of Lizzo several weeks ago, Beyoncé Knowles is to replace the word "spaz" from her album Renaissance. The word is a commonplace slur in the UK, reflecting the recent and widespread offical use of the term "spastic" to refer to people with cerebral palsy and other movement disorders.

The disabled community called out the pop star's song "Heated," which includes the lyrics, "spazzing on that ass, spaz on that ass." According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, in the U.S., spaz is popular slang meaning "go crazy," which is its intent within the lyrics of "Heated." But the word, while generally used to mean the latter domestically, is an ableist insult in the U.K. and other countries (including to some people in the U.S.) since it refers to the medical condition spastic paralysis. In a statement sent to Insider, a rep for Beyoncé confirmed that the lyric will be changed. "The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced," the statement said.

There is a long history of British press demanding that Americans stop using the word, but the internet dissolves all barriers and now the UK stories about it travel worldwide.

Black Americans removing an inadvertantly offensive homonym from their art, to appease mostly white British people upset by it, seems like something that might have unintended consequences—not least for the similar collisions ("smoke some fags and play some pool") present in UK work. You just have to ask yourself who is vulnerable to outrage.