Beyoncé’s “Renaissance”: All the Controversy So Far Since The Album’s Release

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Beyoncé’s latest album, Renaissancereceived rave reviews from critics and fans alike upon its release last Friday, but it has also already caused several well-publicized controversies.

On Tuesday, Beyoncé removed a sample of the song “Milkshake” from a Renaissance track. The move came days after Kelis, who had a hit song with “Milkshake” in 2003, accused Beyoncé of “theft” for allegedly failing to tell her about the monster.

The news about the Kelis monster may be the latest update on controversies surrounding it Renaissance, but the problems with the album started before it was officially released. The album leaked online days before its release date after record stores in Europe reportedly posted Renaissance early on the shelves. While many fans denounced the leak and promised to honor Beyoncé by waiting for the official release, others began sharing the song collection and deciphering the lyrics.

Kelis’s complaint wasn’t the only criticism of the songwriting credits on Renaissance. Diane Warren, the songwriter behind the huge hits “If I Could Turn Back Time” (Cher) and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Aerosmith), made the Beyhive angry for questioning on Twitter, “How can there be 24 writers on a song?” in reference to the Renaissance song “Alien Superstar.”

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The-Dream—an employee of Renaissance— was among the many who lashed out at Warren, writing a stern message to her on Twitter about sampling credits and black culture. In the aftermath, Warren said she didn’t mean her comment “as disrespectful.”

Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” has generated both controversy and accolades. In this photo, Beyoncé can be seen onstage at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021 in Los Angeles.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The album’s lyrics have also sparked public reaction, most notably Beyoncé’s use of the offensive slur “s**z” on the song “Heated.” The term comes from the word “spastic,” which refers to the disability “spastic cerebral palsy.” Fellow music superstar Lizzo used the same slur in the single “Grrrls,” but changed the lyrics shortly after the song was released in June. Likewise, a recent statement from Beyoncé’s reps announced that she will be removing the term on “Heated.”

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During the outcry over “Heated,” Monica Lewinsky also called on Beyoncé to change the lyrics to an older song, “Partition,” which appeared on Beyoncé’s 2013 fifth album of the same name. The song refers to Lewinsky’s affair with then-President Bill Clinton.

“[U]hmm, while we’re at it… #Partition,” Lewinsky wrote in a Monday tweet which contained a link to an article on the “Heated” controversy. Beyoncé has not indicated that she will change the words to “Partition”, but Lewinsky received numerous angry comments on Twitter from fans.

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Many social media users have some of Renaissance‘s raunchy lyrics, while others have expressed their disapproval. TBEN News personality Brian Kilmeade agrees with listeners who have said Beyoncé’s words have gone too far.

While filling in as guest host on The Ingraham Corner on Monday, Kilmeade discussed the removal of “s**z” from “Heated” before denouncing other language on the album. After contributor Raymond Arroyo said Beyoncé uses the N-word on Renaissanceas well as “dirty terms for male/female genitals,” Kilmeade added that the singer shouldn’t use such language because “she’s a parent.”

“We haven’t seen her in a while. Barely dressed, dancing around, and now she’s coming back more despicable than ever, putting out X-rated lyrics,” Kilmeade said.

Fans of the pop singer were quick to express their disapproval of the conservative pundit’s comments.

“Beyoncé? Despicable? Do you know that moms don’t stop being sensual women when they give birth? If you and your wife plan fortnightly romances, that’s your business. I think you have a distorted view of women in America,” read one tweet that was typical of the Beyhive’s reaction.

News week contacted Beyoncé representatives for comment.