When Cardi B announced that she was going on a performance hiatus, she promised her fans that she’d keep working hard from off-stage. Her efforts came to fruition (in part) in the form of a feature on Rita Ora’s new track “Girls.”
The single, which delved into Ora’s orientation as a bisexual women, didn’t roll over well with everyone though. Listeners took to social media to voice concerns that the lyrics of the song exploited the LGBTQ+ community. Even Kehlani called the song “harmful.”
Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
“Girls by Rita Ora,Bebe Rexha,Cardi B, Charlie XCX is written by men and not only did the song makes a harmful impact on the LGBTQ+ community its message reinforces the stigma that bisexual is an experience and is under the male gaze as ‘girl on girl action,’” posted a Twitter user. Another chimed in: “Rita ora and cardi b made a song about wanting to kiss girls but cardi b is straight, her boyfriend is homophobic, SHE’S transphobic, and she mentioned ‘scissoring.’ scissoring. help me jesus. i hate straight people”
The backlash seemed never-ending, as countless fans sounded off with their take on the track. While some saw “Girls” as a “reflection of [the artists’] own thoughts and feelings,” others weren’t trying to hear that.
“Rita ora, girl, i appreciate how open u are abt ur bisexuality but good god this song cannot be an lgbt anthem !” a fan tweeted.
“- it was written by men
– cardi b is on it, who is (to my knowledge) straight, transphobic, homophobic
– cardi is also talking abt scissoring,, which, girl..”
As one listener put it:
“So cardi B, Charlixyz Bebe Rexha, & Rita ora all think it’s ok to make a song about getting girls but none of them are LGBTQ? Nah you can’t ‘be a lipstick for one night’ stop appropriating my culture foh this is why straight girls think it’s cute to flirt with us & waste our time.”
“We dig it.”
Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella
Cardi, who regularly uses social media as a platform for talking to fans, answered the backlash with support. “We never try to cause harm or had bad intentions with the song,” the rapper said. She went on to reveal that she’s had “a lot” of past “experiences with other women.”
Listen to “GIRLS” by Rita Ora ft me @BebeRexha@charli_xcx .We never try to cause harm or had bad intentions with the song .I personally myself had experiences with other woman ,shiieeett with a lot of woman ! I though the song was a good song and i remember my experience .
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) May 15, 2018
Fans with positive outlooks on the song replied to Cardi’s tweet, calling others comments a “complete overreaction,” “unjustified” and borderline bullying.
“Really s****ty how the community bullied Rita into apologizing for her art, when we all know damn well she didnt mean any harm by it,” a fan wrote. “Why are you looking to have your life validated by a song??? I am confusion”
Another tweeted, “As the ‘L’ in LGBTQ, my wife and I laughed at and loved the song. Especially the scissors part… Was not offended at all. It was catchy and immediately added to my playlist. We dig it.”
Regardless of the feelings of some Rita Ora, Cardi B and Bebe Rexha are still promoting their work. In fact, Cardi and Ora were spotted shooting the music video for the song in New York City early May.
Hopefully an accompanying video will boast the song’s ratings, as it has yet to touch Billboard‘s hot 100.