Hayley Kiyoko calls Rita Ora’s song ‘Girls’ ‘tone-deaf,’ ‘harmful’

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Hayley Kiyoko has called out Rita Ora’s new single “Girls” for exploiting the LGBTQ community.

“Girls,” which features Ora, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX and Cardi B, is a song about women having an attraction to other women.

“I ain’t one-sided, I’m open-minded,” Ora sings at the start of the song. “I’m fifty-fifty and I’m never gonna hide it” before launching into the chorus’ lyrics “And last night, yeah, we got with the dude / I saw him, he was lookin’ at you / So I said hey, kush lovin’ / Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls / Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls.”

“I always looked at this song as a real gender-fluid freedom record,” Ora told People about the track.

However, pop singer Kiyoko, who is an out lesbian, took issue with the song.

“It’s the lack of consideration behind these lyrics that really get to me,” Kiyoko posted on Twitter. “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.”

R&B singer Kehlani, who identifies as queer, also criticized the song’s lyrics.

“Hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like ‘word? word,’” Kehlani tweeted.

“mmm i never assumed it was for men lol just think certain quotes weren’t progressive. done speaking about it now tho cheers everyone happy friday,” she sent in another tweet.

Ora has responded to the backlash saying that the song comes from her personal experience having romantic relationships with women.

“‘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,” Ora 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.”

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