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Let's talk about Rita Ora's new song, which gets bisexuality all wrong

Artistes like Kehlani and Hayley Kiyoko have slammed Ora's Girls as tone-deaf, following which Ora came out as bisexual

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 16 May 2018, 1:43 PM
Rita Ora's single finds trouble

Rita Ora's single finds trouble Image: Facebook/ Rita Ora

Rita Ora's latest single Girls featuring names like Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha has been criticised for its problematic content since its release. Following the backlash, Ora has not only apologised but has also come out as bisexual.  

Ora claims the song was inspired by Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl, and says it was meant as a gender-fluid freedom record. "It really represents freedom and the chance to be what you want to be — and there being no judgement and just living your life as you want to live it. I definitely want it to feel like it’s an anthem to somebody. I want there to be a sense of freedom for anyone who listens to it," Ora told People.

But upon the release of the single, queer artistes like Kehlani and Hayley Kiyoko and listeners, too, have called out the single for its offensive lyrics that perpetuate homosexual stereotypes.

Kiyoko, who is often referred to as a Lesbian Jesus, pointed out that the song empowers the male gaze while marginalising the idea of women's attraction for other women. "I don't need to drink wine to kiss girls; I've loved women my entire life," she tweeted, referencing a particular lyric of the song.

"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," Kiyoko wrote on Twitter.

"Hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like ‘word? word. Don’t make this personal. There. were. harmful. lyrics. period," singer-songwriter Kehlani wrote on Twitter.

Ora took to Twitter to apologise for the song's lyrics, and also addressed her sexuality, and in a way came out as bisexual. " I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey," she tweeted.

"I would never intentionally cause harm to other LGBTQ+ people or anyone. 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," she added.

Cardi B, who was also part of the song, took to Twitter to clarify that she could not figure out that the song would go on to be offensive. "I know i have used words before that i wasn’t aware that they are offensive to the LGBT community.I apologize for that. Not everybody knows the correct 'terms' to use. I learned and i stopped using it," wrote Cardi, who also talked about her bisexuality.

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