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Charli XCX responds to ‘Girls’ controversy, says she wants to ‘learn’ from the experience

The 25-year-old singer says Rita Ora had "every right to tell her story"

By Fabio Crispim

Charli XCX has defended Rita Ora’s single ‘Girls’ after the track was hit with backlash from musicians who called it “tone-deaf” and said it featured “harmful” lyrics. 

The song, which Ora recorded with Charli XCX, Cardi B and Bebe Rexha, was slammed by pop star Hayley Kiyoko and rapper Kehlani along with members of the LGBT community. 

While Ora apologised for the track and came out in response to the backlash earlier this month, Charli XCX has defended the song in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, explaining that the track was written about an experience Ora had with another woman. 

She said: “She really does have every right to tell her story because she’s not doing it from an exploitative viewpoint: she’s been with women and had relationships with women.” 

She continued: “She’s had relationships with men too. I don’t understand why her story is less valid than anybody else’s.” 

The 25-year-old singer also addressed Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani’s criticisms of the song, saying: “I could totally relate to the conversation that was being had. 

“Of course, the intention of the song was never to hurt anybody. None of the artists on this song would ever want to upset or hurt anyone.” 

Charlie then insisted she wants to “learn” from the situation, saying: “I think that’s something we can all do: we can all learn from this conversation.” 

“It would be great to continue this dialogue in a positive way – not in an attacking way – so that people can learn about people’s feelings, about people’s sexualities and viewpoints.” 

“I’ve known Rita for a very long time in this particular journey and in this particular story in her life. I would never want to take anyone’s space in pop music, but Rita is somebody I’ve known for a very long time who has had queer experiences and [I felt] that perhaps this is a safe space for me to be on this record.”