Pop newcomer Hayley Kiyoko is calling out Rita Ora, Cardi B, Charli XCX, and Bebe Rexha for their "tone-deaf" new hit single "Girls."
The 27-year-old, who is an openly lesbian singer, has been one of the champions of the LGBTQ+ community in the music industry. Earlier this year, she called out music executives who seem disappointed that she keeps making music videos for songs about women falling in love with women.
Fetishing Queer Relationships
This week, in an Instagram post, she criticized the song's portrayal of female relationships.
"There is a new song that came out today featuring a handful of well-known pop artists that has me overwhelmed with thoughts," she wrote. "To be clear, 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."
"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."
While she knows that Ora's intention was not to fetish queer relationships, Kiyoko stated that she is disappointed for the lack of consideration behind the lyrics. What she and other fans found problematic is the line wherein Ora sings about wanting to kiss girls after a few glasses of wine.
Kiyoko, who earned the moniker "Lesbian Jesus" from fans, added that she does not need to be drunk to be attracted to women.
The "Girls Like Girls" singer is not the only artist to voice out concern over the message portrayed in Ora's "Girls." Kehlani also criticized the track and pointed out that the lyrics are "not progressive."
All About Freedom
Ora, Cardi B, Charli XCX, and Bebe Rexha have not publicly commented about the backlash as of this writing. However, in a statement on Friday, May 11, Ora explained that the new track was inspired by Katy Perry's 2008 hit "I Kissed A Girl."
"I think, obviously, the song is very impactful in its own way. It definitely has a point. For me, I always looked at this song as a real gender-fluid freedom record," she explained. "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."
It is worth noting that Perry apologized for "I Kissed A Girl" and said that she would rewrite the song to remove problematic stereotypes. The track was her first to top the Billboard Hot 100.