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15th Jun 2022

Opinion: Lizzo showed us how easy it is to own up and fix your mistakes

It’s really that easy.

Over the weekend, Lizzo released her latest single Grrrls. Lizzo is known for her message of body positivity and embracing you for you, so it was surprising to hear her use ableist language within the first 20 seconds.

When I say surprising, I mean disappointing. Lizzo has always been an advocate for the little guy, backing all body types, shapes and colours, so when she used a derogatory word for those with spastic cerebral palsy, it came as a shock.

Various disability charities and disabled content creators called her out on the lyric, with many US-based creators actually saying the word wasn’t a slur there.

Lizzo could have easily ignored the comments, it’s not a slur in her country, right?

But that’s not what she did. She recognised her music is listened to worldwide, and that in the rest of the world, the word was incredibly offensive.

While I’m not defending what Lizzo initially did in the song, considering how many people it would have gone through to be released and not flagged, I am not here to slate her. She did something wrong, but her actions after are what redeemed her.

Almost immediately after the song began getting backlash, Lizzo got wind of it. Grrrls was released on June 10th and by June 13th, she had apologised and announced a new version was on the way.

Within three days, she had made things right. It took three days for Lizzo to publically condemn her own actions and own up to what she had done, even though she only learned, herself, it was an offensive term.

We’ve seen artists and people in the public eye countless amounts of times do use similar or other derogatory words in their word and never do anything about it, Lizzo did.

In FourFiveSeconds, Kanye West uses the same word, and it still exists in the song. Lizzo took time to educate herself, realise it may have a deeper meaning than she initially thought and changed it.

Lizzo showed us how easy it really is to admit you were wrong and make amends, especially when you’re in the public domain. She could have ignored it and acted as if she had never seen the backlash.

She could have stuck with her lyrics, but instead, she ensured that nobody was left out from listening to it.

Again, while the issue was bad to begin with, Lizzo’s response was exactly what was needed and without hesitation she gave it. There are a lot of artists out there that would not have even bothered.