Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani criticise Rita Ora’s ‘tone-deaf’ and ‘harmful’ single ‘Girls’

"This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the pure feeling of an entire community."

Pop singer Hayley Kiyoko and R&B artist Kehlani have criticised Rita Ora‘s “downright tone-deaf” new single ‘Girls’.

Released yesterday (March 11), the track sees Ora team up with Cardi B, Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha. During the track, the artists reference their sexual fantasies using the “she/her” pronouns.

Now, Kiyoko has released a statement claiming that the song “does more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community”. Kehlani has also hit out at its “harmful lyrics”.


“There is a new song that came out today featuring a handful of well-known pop artists that has me overwhelmed with thoughts,” Kiyoko begins her post.

She goes on to say how she usually fully supports artists “who freely express themselves” and those “who are opening up more and more about their sexual identities”.

However, Kiyoto then states that “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 [‘Girls’] just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women.”

Referring directly to the chorus’ lyrics, the singer says: “I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life.”


She adds: “This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the pure feeling of an entire community. I feel I have a responsibility to protect that whenever possible.”

Kiyoko signs off by saying: “We can and should do better.”

Kehlani later aired her thoughts on the track, tweeting: “hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like ‘word? word”.

She then said that the criticism isn’t personal to the artists featured on the single. “I have an incredible song out with one of the artists,” she added, “and would love to work with the other three as well. & have met them all and respect them.”

Kehlani said: “there. were. harmful. lyrics. period.”

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Rita Ora previously described the track as “a real gender-fluid freedom record”.

Meanwhile, Charli XCX debuted a new song while supporting Taylor Swift earlier this week. “This is a brand new song,” she told the crowd. “I’ve never played it before ever! It’s [called] ‘5 In The Morning’.”