After Rita Ora released her song “Girls,” which features Charli XCX, Cardi B, and Bebe Rexha singing about how they wanna kiss other girls after a little wine and weed, the track was immediately criticized for being a “harmful,” stereotypical depiction of lesbian desire. Ora responded to critics by explaining that the song was inspired by her own relationships with women, and now Charli XCX, underrated pop queen, has weighed in with her take.
“I think the conversation and dialogue around this song is really important,” Charli, who’s currently opening for Taylor Swift on tour, told Rolling Stone in an interview published on Saturday. “I try so hard to be as involved with the LGBTQ community as possible. Without that community, my career would not really be anything.” Charli further explained that she came onto the song well aware of Ora’s relationships and saw the single as a “safe space.”
When “Girls” was released, artist Shura pointed out that “Girls” is largely written by men, adding to the larger idea that the song is adopting a male gaze. And as a songwriter in her own right, Charli XCX seems to be approaching the backlash against an otherwise forgettable song as a learning experience.
“I just really want to learn from this situation,” she said. “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.”