On Thursday night, Rita Ora released her new single "Girls," featuring Charli XCX, Bebe Rexha, and Cardi B. The song is somewhat of an updated "I Kissed a Girl," celebrating all four previously straight-identifying women's desire to kiss other women after weed and wine. On Twitter, queer pop singer Hayley Kiyoko shared her concern that the track "does more harm that good for the LGBTQ+ community."
"Every so often there come certain songs with messaging that is just downright tone-deaf," her statement read. "A song like this just fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women. 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."
Kiyoko, who got her start on the Disney Channel, has become something of a queer icon herself, with fans referring to her as "lesbian Jesus" due to her open celebration of her own queer identity. Following the release of her debut album Expectations, it's clear she takes their appreciation seriously.
"This type of messaging is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community," the statement continued. "I feel I have responsibility to protect that whenever possible. We can and should do better."
The FADER has reached out to representatives of Rita Ora for comment. Read the full statement below.