After facing backlash from Hayley Kiyoko, Kehlani, and others, singer Rita Ora has come forward to apologize to those who may have been “hurt” by her new single “Girls.” “I am sorry [sic] how I expressed myself in my song has hurt anyone,” the singer wrote in a post shared to Twitter. “I would never intentionally cause harm to other LGBTQ+ people or anyone.”
The song, which features Charli XCX, Bebe Rexha, and Cardi B, was marketed as an upbeat bisexual anthem, but was later criticized as a problematic message that invalidates LGBTQ love, specifically between women. The lyrics of the chorus, “Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls/Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls,” prompted backlash for implying that alcohol must be involved in queer love.
“This type of messaging is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community,” Kiyoko, who is often called “Lesbian Jesus” by her fans, wrote in a post on Twitter last week. “I feel I have responsibility to protect that whenever possible. We can and should do better.”
Kehlani also chimed in to co-sign Kiyoko's statement.
But in her apology, Rita Ora claims that it was not her intention to fetishize relationships between women, but rather share her personal experience as a bisexual woman. “‘Girls’ was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life,” she wrote. “I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey.”
Ora thanked fans for their support and added that she hopes to do better for the community in the future. “I have strived to be a contributor to the LGBTQ+ community throughout my entire career and always will be,” she wrote.