Full disclosure first - we're not the greatest fans of US-rapper Lizzo's music - or fans of rap in general; our musical tastes tend to lean either towards rock or jazz (it's a Gen X thing you'll appreciate).
What is however of interest to us in the world of rap and modern pop is that last week Lizzo release a new single, called Grrrls.
Almost immediately, it was pointed out to her by fans that the song contained a word that some felt was offensive - and she chose to re-release the song, without the offending word.
In the original version of the song “Grrrls” released on Friday, Lizzo used the word “spaz” to indicate that she was going to lose control. The word is based on spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, a condition that causes motor impairments in the legs or arms.
A rapper listened to the fans, immediately changed the song and is now being lauded for doing so.
Some of the world's most celebrated and revered musical artists often tend to include the most offensive lyrics imaginable - it's an important part of their rebellious youthful brand persona; and here one of them has chosen to take a knee and cave into being more PC. Why?
What is going on here?
In a statement posted to Instagram on Monday, Lizzo said she understood the effects of harmful language, whether intentional or unintentional, because “As a fat black woman in America, I’ve had many hurtful words used against me.”
“Let me make one thing clear: I never want to promote derogatory language,” she said, later adding: “This is the result of me listening and taking action.”
Using words that alienate people is not part of the Lizzo brand persona - that's why she changed the word.
Lizzo doesn't necessarily see herself as 'an artist', she's a brand first and foremost and needs to stick to her brand guidelines. Decision made!
It's an interesting story because we can't necessarily recall a previous case where a reversal of artist's expression was made because of the potential damage it would have done to the commercial viability of that artist's brand.
The Lizzo brand machine is thinking strategically here.
Anyhow, oh yes...we do kinda enjoy this hit track from Lizzo. It must be the 70's funk that does it.