Madison Vanderberg
May 15, 2018 1:21 pm

Cardi B has spoken out on the Rita Ora “Girls” controversy, and here’s what you need to know about the backlash the song is facing from the LGBTQ+ community. On Friday, May 11th, Rita Ora, Cardi B, Charli XCX, and Bebe Rexha dropped their joint single “Girls,” and it was being touted as the millennial “Lady Marmalade.” The song highlights the four artists and their relationships with women, but shortly after the song was released, it was faced with thoughtful criticism from the LGBTQ+ community.

Openly out singer Haley Kiyoko took issue with the song, calling it “tone deaf” and saying it “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.”

Some of the problematic lyrics she noted were, “Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls,” to which Kiyoko responded, “I don’t need to drink wine to kiss girls; I’ve loved women my entire life.”

On May 14th, 2018, Ora responded, “’Girls’ was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life.” She went on to apologize for the harm it may have caused and ended with, “I have strived to be a contributor to the LGBTQ+ community throughout my entire career and always will be.”

Today, Cardi B piggy-backed on Ora’s apology with a similar message.

“We never try to cause harm or had bad intentions with the song,” Cardi tweeted and added that she’s had “experiences” with women that she feels make her contributions to the song authentic.

Below, the original lyrics to “Girls”:

Her name is Lara, we learned a lot, ah
How to do it, like we do it like we wanna
We just know
We just know
I ain’t one-sided, I’m open-minded
I’m fifty-fifty and I’m never gonna hide it
You should know, eh
You should know, ay

All summer, we’ve been in the ‘bu
’68 Chevy with nothin’ to do
Just rollin’ J’s, kush lovin’
And last night, yeah, we got with the dude
I saw him, he was lookin’ at you
So I said hey, kush lovin’

Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls
Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls
Sometimes, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls
Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls
Girls, girls, girls, girls, girls

You know I tamed it, and then I named it
I put the lion in the cage and then I laid with her
All night (all night)
Her all night, yeah
I’m the hunter and she the prey, yeah
I’m the thriller, I’m the killer
I’m the saviour, up all night
We up all night, yeah
(Do it one more time)

Chorus repeats

She gettin’ down with me, yeah-ah
She gettin’ down with me, yeah-ah
She gettin’ down with me, yeah-ah
Oh, we can go up

Look, Cardi
Now I could be your lipstick just for one night (one night)
Girls just wanna have fun and have their funds right (yeah)
I mean, say my name, say my name, say my name (say my name)
It tastes good just rolling off your tongue, right? (hurrr)
I put this MAC on your lips, so pucker up (mwah)
We ain’t never heard of you ’cause you ain’t done enough (no)
And I don’t gotta introduce myself (Cardi)
I’m too sexy, I seduce myself (Bardi)
Seven-figure, never need a n***a (nope)
I steal your bitch, have her down with the scissor
Tonight, I don’t want a dog, I want a kitten (Eoooaaawww)
I might French a girl from Great Britain

Kiyoko’s take:

Ora’s response:

Cardi’s reaction:

While we don’t believe any of the woman involved in the creation of the song intended to harm LGBTQ+ individuals with their song or its lyrics, it’s important to listen to people like Kiyoko when they say that the song’s message is marginalizing and harmful to an entire community of people. We’ve come a long way since “I Kissed a Girl,” so let’s keep pushing forward.