Rita Ora’s Apology For Her Song ‘Girls’ Offers An Lesson For Us About The Power Of Words

LGBTQ singers called the song “harmful” to the community.

Life is full of teachable moments, as Rita Ora has learned. The British singer recently dropped a new song, titled "Girls," that was criticized as being "downright tone-deaf" and "harmful" by LGBTQ singers, leading to a heartfelt apology.

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The tune — which also features Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX — has been accused of marginalizing the LGBTQ community, co-opting their experience (also referred to as "queerbaiting") and pandering to stereotypes. This is being alleged to have happened with this specific lyric: "Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls / Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls."

While some likely thought the song was harmless, out artists Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani have taken issue with what is being described as the modern-day version of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" — and we all know how well that one aged.

"It's important for us artists to use our platforms to move the cultural needle forward, not backwards," Kiyoko wrote. "To be clear, I fully support artists who freely express themselves and applaud male and female artists who are opening up more and more about their sexual identities."

"But 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," Kiyoko added. "I know this wasn't the intention of the artists on the song, but it's the lack of consideration behind these lyrics that really get me. 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. We can and should do better."

Kehlani also chimed in by adding her opinion to the pop culture discussion by noting that she hates to be "THAT guy" but "there. were. harmful. lyrics. period."

In the wake of this backlash, Ora responded by opening up about the inspiration behind the song and clarifying how she views her own sexuality in the process.

"Hello everyone reading this. 'Girls' was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life," Ora wrote. "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 song has hurt anyone. I would never intentionally cause harm to other LGBTQ+ people or anyone. Looking forward, I hope that continuing to express myself through my art will empower my fans to feel as proud of themselves as I'm learning to feel about who I am. I'm ever thankful to my fans for teaching me to love myself no matter what. I have strived to be a contributor to the LGBTQ+ community throughout my entire career and always will be."

In addition, Cardi B also took to Twitter to apologize for any past injustices against LGBTQ+ people, to say there was no harm or bad intentions behind "Girls," and to say she has been with "a lot of" women in her life.

Hopefully these women — who say they meant no offense with "Girls" — will treat this as a moment of reflection and self-growth that will help them evolve as artists.

(H/T: NewNowNext)

Cover image: DFP Photographic / Shutterstock.com

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