If you ever need an example of how to do things right, look no further than the iconic singer, performer, and flautist Lizzo. The “About Damn Time” singer isn’t just an incredible artist delivering the summer hits we desperately long for. In the past year, she’s singlehandedly changed the reality TV genre from hateful and exploitative to celebratory and wholesome with her new series “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls.” She’s also given us the TikTok favorite “About Damn Time” and effortlessly won the Met Gala.
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But a queen can make mistakes too–the true mark of greatness is how you own up to your shortcomings. Yesterday, disappointed fans voiced their unhappiness at Lizzo’s use of an ableist slur—the word “spaz”—in her new single “GRRRLS.” Instead of getting defensive, Lizzo listened to what her fans had to say and came up with a solution. She headed back to the studio to re-release the song with the offending word removed.
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“I never want to promote derogatory language,” the singer wrote yesterday on Instagram. “As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me, so I can understand the power words can have (whether intentionally or unintentionally.)”
Commenters and fans alike were impressed with Lizzo’s mature and respectful handling of the situation. “Called to the table, listened, and made a change,” wrote nonbinary performer Van Angelo. “Being an ally is this east [sic] y’all. I’m so glad I stan a Queen that is truly doing the work.” Drag Race legend BenDeLaCreme praised the singer, writing: “you are exactly the role model we need.”
She truly is. Celebrities, take note: it’s not hard to listen, learn, and make the necessary changes to your art and behavior. More importantly, it’s the work we all need to be doing right now.