The never ending saga of drama surrounding Renaissance continues. This time involving Monica Lewinsky. Yes, you read that right.
Beyoncé’s release of her seventh studio album has been followed by a number of feuds, issues and a whole lot of unsolicited opinions. First there was the issue of Beyoncé’s use of Kelis’ samples in her song “Energy,” a use which Kelis herself was not informed of until the song’s official release. Then, there was the issue of Diane Warren and her shady comments on Beyoncé having 24 contributors on her song “Alien Superstar.” Lastly, there was the issue of “Heated”, where Beyoncé faced accusations of ableism due to a lyric.
In the song, Beyoncé had used the word”spaz” in the outro verse. “Spazzin’ on that ass, spaz on that ass,” she sang. In colloquial language “spaz” is typically used to refrence being wild or freaking out. It derives, however, from the medical term “spastic,” which is a disability in which one loses of control over their muscles. Because of this it’s no surprusie that criticism followed from disability advocates and outraged fans online. The issue lead to a statement from the singer’s team reassuring fans that the word was not used harmfully and a vow to change the lyric under dispute.
Following that conversation, Monica Lewinsky chimed in, requesting a lyric change of her own.
“Uhmm, while we’re at it… #Partition,” she tweeted with a link to the news of the lyric change.
The lyric Lewinsky is referring to is off of Beyoncé’s 2013 self-titled album. In “Partition” the Grammy-award winning artist sings, “He bucked all my buttons, he ripped my blouse/
He Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.” The lyric is a direct reference to the Clinton–Lewinsky sex scandal that lead to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998. Following the scandal, Lewinsky faced ridicule, a lot of unwanted attention and countless pop culture references. In fact, the references are so many that in her Twitter bio, Lewinsky self identifies as a “rap song muse.”
In response to her tweet, many members of the Beyhive accused her of using the issue from “Heated” to cling to relevance. The accusations lead to some back and forth.
“But are you going to go after Miley and Eminem too?!?,” one fan tweeted, “You seem to be playing the white woman victim in Bey…. The song is almost a decade old, why now?”
“Because. there. was. an. article. about. her. (not them). changing. lyrics. on. my. TL,” she responded.
“Why refer to yourself as a rap song muse?” another user asked her.
“Because learning to laugh about things which hurt or humiliated me is how I survived,” she tweeted back.
Another user offered a similar sentiment, “‘Rap song muse’ is in your bio. You like the references. Only relevance you have as of lately,” they said.
“Actually, it’s how I’ve learned to deal with painful or humiliating things… I find the humor. eg in my Ted Talk,” she responded with a link to her Ted Talk.
In a 2014 article with Vanity Fair, Lewinsky had actually poked fun at the Beyoncé lyric.
“Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,’ not ‘Monica Lewinsky’d’,” she said at the time.
When another fan had asked her if she brought the lyric up to Beyoncé’s team, Lewinsky responded saying she hadn’t and that the user makes a fair point.
Does this mean she will be bringing the lyric up officially with Beyoncé’s team? Will we see a change to the “Partition” lyrics nine years after the song’s release? We’ll just have to wait and see…
Ammal Hassan is a writer and Esquire’s Snapchat Editor. She covers all things culture with a focus on music and pop culture. She is from Nairobi, Kenya and lives in New York City.
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