Rita Ora has posted a statement on social media in response to controversy over “Girls” lyrics: “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.
I am sorry how I expressed myself in my son has hurt anyone. I would never intentionally cause harm to other LGBTQ+ people or anyone..” See the full statement below.
Read the original story below.
Rita Ora dropped “Girls” last week, a single featuring Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha. While the song was meant to be a celebration of women, not long after it dropped, there was push back on lyrics. Many took issue specifically with the chorus: “Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls; Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls.”
Ora told People the song was inspired by Katy Perry’s 2008 single “I Kissed A Girl,” noting, “It was just such a statement; it was so fun. I wanted to do something that was in that lane.” While some viewed “Girls” as a vehicle for Ora to declare her bisexuality, others took issue with promoting a temporary, just-for-fun sexuality fueled by alcohol.
Singer Hayley Kiyoko spoke out against the lyrics first, writing on Instagram, “I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life. This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community. I feel I have a responsibility to protect that whenever possible.”
Kehlani weighed in on Twitter where she wrote in support of Kiyoko’s argument, “hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like ‘word? word'”
DJ Kittens also pushed back on Twitter, arguing the song appropriates a bisexual identity to add edge. “Don’t capitalize on other people’s identities. It IS that deep,” she wrote, adding, “Bisexuality is a valid identity. This song is literally about wanting to hehe kiss girls when you’re drinking and smoking weed. That’s all we got. It’s harmful when LGBT women are fetishized and no relationships are ever taken seriously.”
Ora hasn’t responded to the controversy. On the day the single released, she told Billboard, “I know that people will read it differently, but the real message is just about freedom and acceptance, and being what you want to be, and it being okay.”
One way to think about the lyrics is in terms of fair representation. If the world were an entirely safe place for gay and bisexual people to openly live their lives, then perhaps there could be room for a song celebrating drunken experimentation, but that is far from the case. Just like we can no longer accept people of color relegated to stereotypical roles (maid, drug dealer) in Hollywood, we’re also past showing female bisexuals as temporary and just for fun.
Given that Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” dropped ten years ago, it’s a clear not a lot of progress has been made if pop music singers still need to hide behind a veil of alcohol-fueled and temporary sexuality.
Check out “Girls” below.
Rita Ora response
— Rita Ora (@RitaOra) May 14, 2018