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Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani criticise Rita Ora’s ‘Girls’ for its ‘harmful’ and ‘tone-deaf’ message

Pop singer Hayley Kiyoko and R&B star Kehlani have spoken out.

By Fabio Crispim

Singers Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani have slammed Rita Ora’s new “bisexual anthem” ‘Girls’. 

The single, released yesterday (May 11), features Ora, Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha referencing their sexual fantasies as well as the lines: “Sometimes I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls” and “I’m open-minded… I’m 50/50, and I’m never gonna hide it.”. 

While Ora revealed she wants the song to become a bisexual anthem, pop star Kiyoko and R&B artist Kehlani have a different opinion.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Kiyoko said Ora’s song “does more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community”, writing: “There is a new song that came out today featuring a handful of well-known pop artists that has me overwhelmed with thoughts. 

“I literally have a knot in my stomach right now. To be clear, I fully support other 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. A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalising the idea of women loving women.”

She continued: “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 messaging is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community.

Kiyoko added: “I feel I have a responsibility to protect that whenever possible. We can and should do better.” 

Kehlani also addressed the song in a series of tweets. She wrote: “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.” 

“Hate to be THAT guy but there were so many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like ‘word? word'”. 

She added: “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.” 

Meanwhile, in an interview with PEOPLE, Ora revealed her single was inspired by Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’ and said that ‘Girls’ “represents freedom and the chance to be what you want to be”.