Hayley Kiyoko seemingly criticizes Rita Ora's 'Girls' on Twitter

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Hayley Kiyoko says Rita Ora’s new LGBT-inspired song is ‘tone-deaf’

'A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women.'


Bryan Rolli


Posted on May 12, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 4:01 pm CDT

Pop singer Hayley Kiyoko took to Twitter on Friday to criticize Rita Ora’s new song, “Girls,” which features Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX. The song, which is ostensibly about celebrating women and sexual fluidity, features the chorus lyrics: “Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls / Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls.”

Kiyoko tweeted a note in which she implied the song fails to “move the cultural needle forward.”

“There is a new song that came out today featuring a handful of well-known pop artists that has me overwhelmed with thoughts,” she wrote. “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 sexualities. 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 marginalizing the idea of women loving women.”

The 27-year-old singer, who identifies as a gay woman, also referenced the lyrics to “Girls” in the second half of her statement. “I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life,” she wrote. “This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community. I feel I have a responsibility to protect that whenever possible.”

R&B/pop singer Kehlani echoed Kiyoko’s sentiments on Twitter later Friday night. “hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like “word? word,” she wrote. The 23-year-old artist, who identifies as queer, elaborated in another tweet: “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.”




In a recent interview with People, Ora described “Girls” as “a real gender-fluid freedom record.” She added: “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.”

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*First Published: May 12, 2018, 2:04 pm CDT