Dear Ms. Iggy Azalea,
I am writing you on behalf of the National Down Syndrome Society to express our concern about the lyrics in your song, “Fancy,” which are degrading and hurtful to the members of the Down syndrome community. During the second verse, you described your “flow” as “retarded.” Using the word “retarded” as an adjective reinforces painful stereotypes and disregards the efforts the approximately 400,000 Americans with Down syndrome make every day to not be defined by their disability.
The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. As a part of this mission, we welcome the opportunity to educate people who may have an inadequate understanding of the great achievements people with developmental and intellectual disabilities are making today.
People with developmental and intellectual disabilities are achieving more today than ever before. Using the word “retarded” creates a barrier for people with Down syndrome and promotes focusing on their disability, instead of their great abilities. Individuals with Down syndrome work very hard – harder than most people – to learn how to read, write, play musical instruments, participate in sports, live independently, and become valuable members of their communities. Their success should be commended by a welcoming community.
We hope to see you use your influence as a celebrity and top selling musical artist to stand behind us and help educate those who may have the same misunderstanding of the use of the word “retarded.”
Sara Hart Weir
National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10017