Charli XCX has responded to the criticism of "Girls," her collaboration with Rita Ora, Cardi B, and Bebe Rexha. The song, released earlier this month, was criticized by a number of queer artists for its lyrics detailing a bisexual relationship.
The track, which includes lyrics such as Now I could be your lipstick, just for one night , was singled out by Kehlani, Hayley Kiyoko, and the pop group Muna among others. Speaking to Rolling Stone prior to a tour stop with Taylor Swift, XCX said she had taken the feedback on board and was keen to learn from the experience.
"I think the conversation and dialogue around this song is really important," Charli said. "I try so hard to be as involved with the LGBTQ community as possible. Without that community, my career would not really be anything ... I read Kehlani's post, Hayley [Kiyoko]'s post, Katie [Gavin] from Muna's post. I could totally relate to the conversation that was being had. Of course, the intention of the song was never to hurt anybody. None of the artists on this song would ever want to upset or hurt anyone."
Charli added that the song was written in relation to a relationship Rita Ora had with a woman: "She really does have every right to tell her story because she's not doing it from an exploitative viewpoint: she's been with women and had relationships with women," she said. "She's had relationships with men too. I don't understand why her story is less valid than anybody else's."
"I just really want to learn from this situation," Charli added. "I think that's something we can all do: we can all learn from this conversation. It would be great to continue this dialogue in a positive way — not in an attacking way — so that people can learn about people's feelings, about people's sexualities and viewpoints. We can learn to not judge people before we get all the information. We can learn how certain words might make certain communities sad or upset."
"I've known Rita for a very long time in this particular journey and in this particular story in her life," she continued. "I would never want to take anyone's space in pop music, but Rita is somebody I've known for a very long time who has had queer experiences and [I felt] that perhaps this is a safe space for me to be on this record. I apologize to any people I've offended by that."
Rita Ora, Cardi B, and Bebe Rexha have also apologized for offending with "Girls" prior to XCX's statement.