Charli XCX defends song ‘Girls’, saying Rita Ora had ‘every right to tell her story’

Charli XCX has defended controversial track ‘Girls’, saying Rita Ora had ‘every right to tell her story’ about her sexuality using the song – but has said sorry to anyone that it offended.

The singer also said that she did not mean to upset anyone with the song, and that she wants to learn from the backlash surrounding it.

Rita Ora has already apologised after the track, which she recorded with Charli XCX, Carli B and Bebe Rexha and released earlier this month, sparked a backlash.

Queer musicians, including Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani, slammed the song, calling it “downright tone-deaf” and saying it featured “harmful” lyrics.

Now, in an interview with Rolling Stone, Charli XCX has weighed in on the argument, siding with Ora.

“I know that Rita’s had extremely meaningful relationships with both men and women,” she said.

“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’s had relationships with men too. I don’t understand why her story is less valid than anybody else’s.”

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Recording artist Rita Ora attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Rita Ora (Jason Kempin/Getty)

Charli XCX also said that Ora was forced to come out in response to the furore surrounding the song.

“Rita had never confirmed her sexuality,”Charli XCX added. “She basically felt like she had to come out [because of this].”

In her apology for the song, Ora wrote: “I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey.”

Charli XCX added that she had read the posts of queer musicians criticising the song on Twitter, including those by Kehlani and Kiyoko.

“I could totally relate to the conversation that was being had,” Charli XCX said. “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.”

The 25-year old said that wants to move on from the backlash – and explained that she took part in the song to support Ora as a friend.

“I just really want to learn from this situation,” Charli XCX 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.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Model Cara Delevingne (L) and musician Rita Ora attend The Weinstein Company & Netflix's 2015 Golden Globes After Party presented by FIJI Water, Lexus, Laura Mercier and Marie Claire at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for TWC)

Cara Delevingne (left) has also defended Rita Ora over her song ‘Girls’. (Jonathan Leibson/Getty)

She continued: “I’ve known Rita for a very long time in this particular journey and in this particular story in her life.

“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.”

Cardi B, meanwhile, who is also featured on ‘Girls’, has defended the song and said that she has had “experiences” with “a lot” of women.

Last week, Cara Delevingne, who last year defined her sexuality as “fluid“, defended Ora over the song.

Speaking to Paper Magazine, Delevingne said: “I love all of those artists, I think it’s a really great song.

“And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I think it’s not fair to point a finger. I love Rita. I think she’s a wonderful artist and I always support her in what she does.