Rita Ora Responds to 'Girls' Backlash: 'I Have Had Romantic Relationships with Women and Men'
Ora said the bi-curious anthem "was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life"
“Girls was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life,” Ora tweeted. “I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey.”
The British pop star released the track Friday, and it includes the lyrics: “I ain’t one-sided, I’m open-minded / I’m 50/50, and I’m never gonna hide it / You should know … Sometimes I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls / Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls.”
Although ex-boyfriend Rob Kardashian supported Ora on Twitter Monday, some on social media found “Girls” and its lyrics problematic and exploitative.
Pop singer Hayley Kiyoko, who identifies as gay, spoke out against the song on Twitter Friday.
“Every so often there come certain songs with messaging that is downright tone-deaf, which does more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community. A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women,” Kiyoko, 27, wrote. “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 bisexual and has a duet with Cardi B, “Ring” — alluded to “Girls” on Friday.
“every artist on the song is fantastic, and very much loved and supported by me… by all of us. but this isn’t about talent. it’s about choice,” Kehlani tweeted.
“hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like ‘word? word'” said Kehlani. “and don’t make this personal. i have an incredible song out with one of the artists, and would love to work with the other three as well. & have met them all and respect them. there. were. harmful. lyrics. period. love y’all.”
Ora responded to sentiments like Kiyoko’s and Kehlani’s in her tweet Monday.
“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,” Ora wrote. “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.”
Ora added: “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.”
Ora opened up to PEOPLE exclusively about “Girls” last Thursday, just hours before its release.
“It really represents freedom and the chance to be what you want to be — and there being no judgment and just living your life as you want to live it. That’s what this song represents to me every time I hear it,” she told PEOPLE.
“I’m not hiding what I am, who I am, if I wanna do this, if I wanna do that. That’s just how it’s gonna be,” Ora added. “For me and my career, this is definitely the most open-booked I’ve ever been, if that’s a word. I’m definitely an open book with this record, and I’m really proud of the support I’ve got with my fellow collaborators.”