Beyoncé’s new album, Renaissance, has made its way into the airwaves since it was released on Friday.
And with the album generating thousands of articles, reviews, replies, videos, tweets and other comments on the internet, it’s fair to say that it dominated the online discourse as well.
The Renaissance particularly sparked conversations about black culture, queerness, the re-emergence of dance tracks in mainstream music, and reclaiming certain musical genres. Beyoncé worked on the album with several prominent black trans and queer artists such as MikeQ and Honey Dijon, both major players in the LGBTQIA + and ballroom scenes.
Beyonce: Renaissance (2022)
But the response was not entirely good. Defenders of disabled rights dismissed the singer last week after the words used in the song Heated were deemed an enabler insult. On Monday, one of Beyoncé’s reps said the singer would change the words “spazio” and “scavin” from the song, saying, “The word, not intentionally used in a harmful way, will be replaced.”
Some fans in America have come out to defend the singer, saying the word didn’t have the same meaning in the United States as it did in the rest of the world. In the UK it is a derogatory term derived from spastic diplegia, a type of spastic cerebral palsy that affects the movement of the legs. But for others, these environmental excuses have failed.
Speaking to The Guardian, disability activist and writer Hannah Diviney said, “I thought we had changed the music industry and started a global conversation about why enabling language, whether intentional or not, has no place in music. But I guess I was wrong, because now Beyoncé is gone and done exactly the same thing. “
Beyoncé’s decision to use the words came just weeks after Lizzo apologized for using the same word in her song GRRRLS. She said she would change the text, saying, “I never want to promote derogatory language. I am proud to say that there is a new version of GRRRLS with a text change. This is the result of my listening and my acting “.
However yesterday Lizzo tweeted: “Damn…. Beyoncé and Lizzo are trendy … I in Houston at 12 listen to the son of destiny crying. Never in my life have I thought this would be my life… ”seeming to forget that one of the reasons why the two acts are trendy is because they both used the same insult in their songs. For some, the comment reduced her conviction of her GRRRLS apology of her.
But the story doesn’t stop there. When Beyoncé agreed to change Heated, American activist Monica Lewinsky, who describes herself as a “muse of rap songs”, tweeted: “Uhmm, while we’re at it … #Partition”. In Beyoncé’s 2013 song Partition, a line says: “She tore all my buttons, she tore my blouse. He Monica Lewinski put everything on my dress ”.
Lewinsky previously spoke of the fact that her relationship with President Bill Clinton has caused her a life of shame, humiliation and years of therapy.
When a fan asked Lewinsky if he had talked to Beyoncé’s team about it before “all the heat”, he said, “No, I didn’t. I mentioned it in the first vanity fair article I wrote in. 2014 … which was the first public thing I did in 10 years. But make an interesting / right point … “
So far it doesn’t appear that anyone on Beyoncé’s team has responded to Lewinsky.
Social media has brought audiences and artists closer together, with conversations between musicians and their fans now a random and even expected online occurrence.
But this week’s incident – in which fans were able to influence a major release so quickly – seems like a starting point. In a way it is: Beyoncé is often seen as one of the most powerful people in the music industry and her latest album will have spent months and months in the studio, in the editing room and then with the heads of the music labels.
However, opera drama isn’t actually as new as it seems. In 2019, following a backlash, Drake changed a text of his song Jodeci Freestyle where he used the words “autistic, retarded” as an insult. Drake then released a statement stating, “I share the responsibility and offer my sincere apologies for the pain this has caused. Individuals with autism have brilliant and creative minds and their gifts should not be disparaged or discounted.” lyrics was removed from the song.
So, a 2013 remix of Future Karate Chop’s track saw Lil Wayne in his added verse saying, “Hit her pussy like Emmett Till.”
After the criticism, the text was removed and Lil Wayne issued a public apology to the Till family in which he said, “I can’t imagine the pain your family went through. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge your pain, so like the letter you sent me through your lawyers. “
There are dozens of similar examples, including the 2003 Black Eyed Peas track Let’s Get It Started, originally called Let’s Get Retarded, and Taylor Swift’s 2009 track Picture to Burn, which said, “So go tell the your friends that I am obsessive and crazy, okay, I’ll tell mine that you are gay ”, which has been duly edited.
Nor is it a recent phenomenon powered by the Internet. The day before Michael Jackson released the song They Don’t Care About Us in 1995, the New York Times reported that the song contained racist and anti-Semitic lines. In particular, the lyric “Jew me, It happens me, Everyone do me / Kick me, k * ke me, not you black or white me” caused offense.
At the time, Jackson responded to the newspaper saying, “The idea that these lyrics could be considered objectionable to me is extremely offensive and misleading. The song is about the pain of prejudice and hatred and is a way of attracting publicity. focus on social and political issues, ”then told ABC News,“ She’s not anti-Semitic because I’m not a racist person … I could never be a racist. I love all competitions. ”Only a week later, however, was agreed that Jackson would go back to the studio and redo the song, replacing the offensive phrases with “do me” and “strike me.” Jackson also apologized for the mistake.
So while it might seem like we’re seeing some sort of revolution, where fans and critics alike have a new power to influence the work of the world’s biggest stars, in effect Beyoncé’s oversight of Heated and her willingness to change the lyrics. , confirm only a model of fallibility that has been going on for decades.
And, for Beyoncé, the lyric controversy isn’t the last issue the singer has faced since her release on Friday. The Houston-born singer has now also begun the process of removing a sample of Kelis from her renaissance piece Energy after she said Kelis was not credited or even consulted about her use of her. The original song featured Beyoncé singing a sequence of “las” to the melody of Kelis’s 2003 hit Milkshake.
On her Instagram, a smoldering Kelis said, “There are bullies, secrets and gangsters in this industry who smile and get away with it until someone says enough. So I say it today. I come for what is mine and I want repairs ”.