Rita Ora apologises after LGBT criticism of her song Girls

After the track is criticised for its ‘tone-deaf’ portrayal of same-sex relationships, Ora says sorry for the way she expressed herself

Rita Ora has apologised after her new song Girls, featuring all-star guests Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha, was criticised for a “tone-deaf” approach to same-sex relationships.

The song’s lyrics reference Ora’s bisexuality, saying, “I’m 50-50 and I’m never going to hide it,” before going into a chorus that rebuffs a man’s advances, reading: “Red wine, I just want to kiss girls.” A line from Cardi B reads: “I could be your lipstick just for one night.”

Pop star Hayley Kiyoko wrote on Twitter that Girls did “more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community. A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalising the idea of women loving women ... I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life.” She added that the song “belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community”.

R&B singer Kehlani, who recently defined herself as queer on Twitter, wrote that “there were many awkward slurs, quotes ... I never assumed it was for men lol just think certain quotes weren’t progressive.” DJ Kittens wrote: “This song is literally about wanting to hehe kiss girls when you’re drinking and smoking weed ... It’s harmful when LGBT women are fetishised and no relationships are ever taken seriously.”

Ora has now responded to the criticism, saying she was “sorry [if] how I expressed myself in the song has hurt anyone. I would never intentionally cause harm to other LBGTQ+ people or anyone.” She said the song “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 had previously said the song was inspired in part by Katy Perry’s similarly-minded I Kissed a Girl, though Perry herself recently admitted that some lyrics in the song were outdated, saying: “It has a couple of stereotypes in it.”


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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