Lizzo "never heard" of the word sp*z used as a slur against disabled people.
Lizzo had "never heard" the word sp*z used as a slur against disabled people.
The 34-year-old pop star used the word in the lyrics of her song 'Grrrls' and - although she eventually removed it from the song - explained that it came to her through her own circles and insisted the idea of using a slur would be "unauthentic" to her.
She told Vanity Fair: "I’d never heard it used as a slur against disabled people, never ever. The music I make is in the business of feeling good and being authentic to me. Using a slur is unauthentic to me, but I did not know it was a slur. It’s a word I’ve heard a lot, especially in rap songs, and with my black friends and in my black circles: It means to go off, turn up. I used [it as a] verb, not as a noun or adjective. I used it in the way that it’s used in the black community. The internet brought it to my attention, but that wouldn’t [have been enough] to make me change something."
The 'Juice' hitmaker eventually changed the lyrics in her song from 'Hold my bag / Imma sp*z" to "Do you see this s*** / hold me back" and explained that in doing so she is merely "reflecting on the times" as an artist.
She said: "Nina Simone changed lyrics–is she not an artist? “Language changes generationally; Nina Simone said you cannot be an artist and not reflect the times. So am I not being an artist and reflecting the times and learning, listening to people, and making a conscious change in the way we treat language, and help people in the way we treat people in the future?"
Meanwhile, Lizzo added that she does not make music "for a white audience" and instead creates her songs from her experience as a black woman.
She said: "That is probably the biggest criticism I’ve received, and it is such a critical conversation when it comes to black artists. The thing is, when a black artist reaches a certain level of popularity, it’s going to be a predominantly white crowd…I am not making music for white people. I am a black woman, I am making music from my black experience, for me to heal myself [from] the experience we call life. We need self-love and self-love anthems more than anybody. So am I making music for that girl right there who looks like me, who grew up in a city where she was underappreciated and picked on and made to feel unbeautiful? Yes. It blows my mind when people say I’m not making music from a black perspective–how could I not do that as a black artist?"
Read 'Lizzo Is Here to Talk About All of It—That Flute, That Lyric, Her Man, and More' by Lisa Robinson in Vanity Fair’s November issue, and on VanityFair.com
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