The song was heavily criticised for its ‘tone-deaf’ lyrics such as: “Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls/Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls”, which many felt undermined the queer community, suggesting that girls only kiss other girls when drunk.
“A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women,” Hayley Kiyoko wrote on Twitter.
MUNA’s Katie Gavin noted that in ‘Girls’ she hears “the familiar chorus that women’s sexuality is something to be looked at instead of authentically felt”, while Kehlani said it has “many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments”.
Soon after the outcry, Rita Ora posted a statement to Twitter, saying: “‘Girls’ was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life. I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey.”
Charli XCX has now added her thoughts, saying, “I think the conversation and dialogue around this song is really important.”
Speaking to Rolling Stone about the backlash from her peers, the singer said: “I could totally relate to the conversation that was being had. Of course, the intention of the song was never to hurt anybody.”
Charli claims the furore essentially outed Rita: “Rita had never confirmed her sexuality. She basically felt like she had to come out [because of this].”
“I know that Rita’s had extremely meaningful relationships with both men and women,” the singer added.
“She really does have every right to tell her story because she’s not doing it from an exploitative viewpoint… I don’t understand why her story is less valid than anybody else’s.”
She wants to move on from the controversy in a positive way: “I just really want to learn from this situation…we can all learn from this conversation.”
Meanwhile, the singer is currently on tour with Taylor Swift on the US leg of her ‘Reputation’ tour.
Watch Charli XCX play brand new song, ‘5 in the Morning’ here.
She recently announced two ‘Pop 2’ shows, one in London and one in Paris on 19 and 20 June, respectively.