HOLLYWOOD—Beyonce’s album is expected to top the charts, despite the controversy. What controversy, you ask? The song “Heated” which was released on July 29, contained a derogatory term that has often been used to demean people with spastic cerebral palsy. The backlash came just a couple of weeks after US pop star Lizzo apologized for using the same word in her song “GRRRLS.”
Within days, she apologized and re-released the song, omitting the offensive lyric. “Let me make one thing clear; I never want to promote derogatory language,” she wrote in a statement to social media. “As a fat black woman in America, “I’ve had many hurtful words used against me so I understand the power words can have whether intentionally or in my case, unintentionally.”
When fans heard Beyonce’s track on Friday, it felt “like a slap in the face,” a disability advocate Hannah Diviney said in a published report. Disability charity Scope asked Beyonce to re-record the song, omitting the insult. It welcomed the change of heart.
The derogatory term, often used to demean people with spastic cerebral palsy, occurs twice in the song, co-written by Canadian star Drake. Beyonce has long been a champion of inclusivity and equality, so we’d urge her to remove this offensive lyric. Her video also addressed fans who claimed the insult has different connotations in the US-where it is often used to mean “freaking out” or “going crazy” although those terms can themselves be insensitive to people with mental health conditions.
Kelis was angry that Beyonce hadn’t sought permission to reference her song “Milkshake.” “Heated” is not the only song on Beyonce’s seventh studio album to attract criticism. Kelis accused the star of “theft” after learning her anthem had been interpolated on a song called “Energy” (interpolation is when one song references another, without directly sampling it. Kelis said she had not been informed in advance, and that her “mind is blown” by the “level of disrespect.”
However, Beyonce would not have had to seek Kelis’s permission to reference “Milkshake,” as she is not a credited writer on the song and does not own the copyright. Instead, permission would have been sought from writer/producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo-who duly receive a share of the royalties from “Energy.” It appears that the basis of Kelis’s disagreement lies with them.
She previously accused the duo, professionally known as the Neptunes, of “lying and tricking” her into a bad deal, which gave them the rights to her music instead of splitting the royalties three ways. In an Instagram video about Beyonce’s song, she confirmed that they were the source of her frustration. “Publishing was stolen, people were swindled out of rights. It happens all the time, especially back then. So it’s not about me being mad about Beyonce. Pharrell knows better, she added.” This is a direct hit at me and he does this stuff all the time. The reason I’m annoyed is because I know it was on purpose.” According to published reports, neither Pharrell Williams nor Chad Hugo could be reached for comment.
While Beyonce is re-recording, Harry Styles has two films hoping for awards glory. The Oscars are still almost eight months away, but film awards season is already taking shape. Most serious contenders tend to cluster towards the back half of the year, and the three film festivals in particular. Between Venice, Telluride in Colorado and Toronto they all take place within a few days of each other in late August and September and compete to host the very best movies. Harry Styles stars in “My Policeman” and “Don’t Worry Darling.”
Rose’s Scoop: In the film “My Policeman,” Tom played by Styles embarks on an emotional journey in 1950s Britain. The film will be premiering at the Toronto Film Festival. The movie “Don’t Worry Darling,” is about a 1950s housewife living in a utopian experimental community where she begins to worry that her husband’s glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.