(EDGE) Singers Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani are taking issue with Rita Ora's new single "Girls" over the song's bisexual themes.
Ora dropped her new song Friday, which features Cardi B, Charli XCX, and Bebe Rexha. "Girls" features lyrics like, "I ain't one-sided, I'm open-minded," and "I'm 50-50 and I'm never gonna hide it." Ahead of the song's release, Ora discussed the track with People magazine.
"I always looked at this song as a real genderfluid freedom record," the U.K. pop star said. "It really represents freedom and the chance to be what you want to be - and there being no judgment and just living your life as you want to live it."
She was also asked if she hopes "Girls" turns into a "bisexual anthem."
"Definitely. I definitely want it to feel like it's an anthem to somebody," Ora told the magazine. "I want there to be a sense of freedom for anyone who listens to it. So I'll take it!"
When asked if she is bisexual or sexually fluid, Ora said: "If people look at it like that, it's very narrow-minded, and I don't think that's what this record is," she protests. "I don't think that that even matters."
Also in the People interview, Ora also confessed "Girls" was inspired by Katy Perry's debut single "I Kissed a Girl."
Ora's new song, however, isn't sitting well with everyone. Singer Hayley Kiyoko, who has been dubbed "Lesbian Jesus," took to Twitter shortly after the release of "Girls," saying the song "does more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community."
"It's important for us artists to move the cultural needle forward, not backwards," she wrote in her note to her 469,000 followers. "I literally have a knot in my stomach right now."
"I fully support other artists who freely express themselves and applaud male and female artists who are opening up more and more about their sexual identities," she went on to say. "But 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."
She concludes: "I don't need to drink wine to kiss girls; I've loved women my entire life. This type of message is dangerous because it completely belittles and invalidates the very pure feelings of an entire community. I feel I have a responsibility to protect that whenever possible. We can and should do better."
Real talk 🌈 pic.twitter.com/9EbZd5dYZq— Hayley Kiyoko (@HayleyKiyoko) May 11, 2018
Singer Kehlani, who recently came out as queer, also took issue with "Girls," also calling the song's lyrics "harmful."
"Hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like 'word? word,'" she wrote. "Don't make this personal," the singer writes, adding, "there. were. harmful. lyrics. period."
hate to be THAT guy but there were many awkward slurs, quotes, and moments that were like “word? word”— Kehlani (@Kehlani) May 11, 2018
every artist on the song is fantastic, and very much loved and supported by me... by all of us. but this isn’t about talent. it’s about choice.— Kehlani (@Kehlani) May 11, 2018
and don’t make this personal.— Kehlani (@Kehlani) May 11, 2018
i have an incredible song out with one of the artists, and would love to work with the other three as well. & have met them all and respect them.
there. were. harmful. lyrics.
period. love y’all. 🤗
Ora has yet to address the criticisms. The same goes for Charli XCX and Bebe Rexha. Cardi B has made her social media accounts private due to drama with Azealia Banks.
Listen to "Girls" below.