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16 Jun 2022

What The Workplace Can Learn From Lizzo’s Ableist Lyric Change

Earlier this week, the award-winning superstar Lizzo, known for songs such as ‘About Time’ and ‘Boys’, released a new song titled ‘Grrrls’ that included an ableist and incredibly harmful term associated with Spastic Diplegia, which is a form of cerebral palsy. Her new song caused controversy online, with many calling for Lizzo to change her lyrics. 

Thankfully, Lizzo almost instantaneously released an apology, writing: “I never want to promote derogatory language,” and “This [change] is the result of me listening and taking action.” Changing her lyrics without argument shows her evident respect for the community and eagerness to learn.

So, what can the workplace learn from The Change of Lizzo’s Ableist Lyrics?

Always Apologise for Ableist Behaviours

It is essential to apologise for any mistakes you may make. Being an ally to any community doesn’t mean you will always get things right. However, it’s far more important to apologise for your wrongdoing. Therefore, showing that you take responsibility for any ableist ways or derogatory behaviour.

In doing so, you create a happier and more inclusive team.

Take Responsibility for Ableist Behaviours

Following on from this, we must take responsibility for our actions. As Lizzo demonstrates, she does not blame anyone or anything else for her ableist lyrics. Instead, she addresses the issue head-on and takes responsibility for her mistake by removing and replacing the word. 

Learn From Your Mistakes

Of course, apologising is vital in the workplace. To move forward, you must learn from your mistakes. In other words, when you use harmful language towards any marginalised community, you must unlearn the languages used. To further your learning, you could research other phrases you should not use. 

Make a Change

Once you have unlearnt these behaviours, it’s a great place to start making a change. Perhaps you could share the knowledge you have learnt with the wider team. Just like Lizzo has done in changing her lyrics, you should always change your approach when you could potentially be harmful to others. Furthermore, by making a change and educating yourself you positively impact employee engagement by creating a kinder environment where people don’t face prejudice.

In summary, although Lizzo’s lyrics were damaging, she has now addressed the issue, which hopefully shines a light on the word itself, stopping others from using it in the future. Unfortunately, we may never entirely remove many harmful and ableist languages used today. However, we all must play our part in eradicating them. 

If you want to find out how Each Person can help you look after your people and make a change in the workplace, contact us today at support@eachperson.com.

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