Rita Ora has dropped the official music video for her track "Girls," featuring Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX. Predictably, the video features exclusively women in a variety of different situations. One highlight is Cardi B, who appears in a kind of hologram that Rita Ora both watches and interacts with. The undisputed climax also happens in this section: a cheeky Cardi and Rita kiss.
The song generated considerable controversy. Queer artist Haley Kiyoko, for example, called the song "tone-deaf" and argued it "belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community." Kehlani, who also identifies as queer, agreed that some of the lyrics were "harmful," though she stressed she supports each of the artists featured on the song. One lyric that was singled out was, "Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls," because it implied drinking alcohol needed to be involved for women to kiss other women.
Cardi, Charli XCX, and Rita herself each apologized. Cardi said they “never try to cause harm or had bad intentions with the song," and added that she has had "experiences with other women" and just thought it was a good song. Charli XCX echoed Cardi, saying "intention of the song was never to hurt anybody," adding that “the conversation and dialogue around this song is really important,” and that she tries “hard to be as involved with the LGBTQ community as possible" since "without that community, [her] career would not really be anything.”
Rita responded by sharing that she has had relationships with both men and women, writing on Twitter: "‘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.”