Rita Ora responds after ‘Girls’ lyrics face backlash
Rita Ora has issued an apology after her self-declared bisexual anthem “Girls” sparked backlash within the LGBTQ community for its “harmful” lyrics.
The song, released last week, received an assist from the star-studded trio of Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX, who each contributed various verses. The track’s lyrics find Ora embracing her bisexuality, with the chorus repeating the line, “Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls.”
But the song was quickly met with backlash from artists within the LGBT community who felt it did more harm than good.
“Hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like ‘word? word,” wrote singer Kehlani, who came out last year. “I just think certain quotes weren’t progressive… And don’t make this personal. I have an incredible song out with one of the artists, and would love to work with the other three as well. & have met them all and respect them. There. Were. Harmful. Lyrics. Period.”
Singer Hayley Kiyoko, who released a song of her own called “Girls Like Girls” in 2015, shared a similar notion, and wrote on Twitter that the song gave her a “knot in (her) stomach.”
“Every so often there come certain songs with messaging that is just downright tone-deaf, which does more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community,” she wrote. “A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women.”
She added that the message was “dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community… We can and should do better.”
Ora, 27, took to Twitter Monday to address the comments, and defended herself by explaining that the song was written to reflect experiences she’d had personally.
“‘Girls’ was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life. I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey,” she wrote.
“I am sorry how I expressed myself in my song has hurt anyone. I would never intentionally cause harm to other LGBTQ+ people or anyone.”
The British singer had previously described the track as a “real gender-fluid freedom record,” and said it was inspired by Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.”
“It really represents freedom and the chance to be what you want to be — and there being no judgment and just living your life as you want to live it,” she told People.