Bebe Rexha ‘Felt Disrespected’ Over ‘Girls’ Criticism: ‘It’s the Life That I Live and It’s Honest to Me’
Last Friday (May 11) saw the debut of Rita Ora's "Girls," a no-boys-allowed banger assisted by Cardi B, Charli XCX, and Bebe Rexha.
The track, which concentrates on sexual drifts between women, drew ire and divided fans upon its release. Singers like Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani and pop collaborative, MUNA, were among the many musicians who openly reprimanded the tune for its reactionary and tone-deaf approach to bisexuality.
In a tweet, Kiyoko, who publicly identifies as a "gay woman," slammed the song for its use of problematic lyrics ("Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls") that cause "more harm than good for the LGBTQ+ community." Kehlani mimicked the Expectations singer's sentiments, denouncing "Girls" for its flagrant use of unsavory slurs and quotes.
Both Ora and Cardi have since released sincere apologies amid the protest over the tune, citing shared tales of "same-sex experiences" as a reprieve.
Now, Rexha, too, has come forward in defense of the song and explained why she felt the outcry wrongfully invalidated the true experiences of her and her female collaborators.
“My sexual life is nobody’s business,” Rexha told Entertainment Weekly on Thursday (May 17). “But we’re singing a song about kissing girls and that remains true to who I am. It’s the life that I live and it’s honest to me.”
In answer to claims about her involvement in the controversial anthem being a strategic career play, Rexha responded: “That would be pretty fucked-up…And I’d agree with where the critics are coming from [in that case]. Everybody can have their own opinion.”
“The question of whether [the song] was true to us was completely dismissed,” said the "Meant to Be" singer. “People automatically went for the negative instead of saying: ‘Well maybe these girls do kiss girls, maybe Bebe is bi.’ You don’t know about my sexual orientation, so I felt disrespected.”
Rexha vouches that she has "kissed girls" and that the act wasn't done for play or sport. "Do you have to be fully lesbian to put out a song about kissing girls? What if you’re bi?" she argued. "Isn’t the point of being supportive of the LGBTQ community that you can love whoever you want and everything is fluid and non-judgmental?”
Despite her stance, Rexha admits that complaints of the song's questionable lyrics — like that of the "red wine" sort — are valid and its implications were "f--ked up."
Charli XCX, another collaborator on the tune, has yet to address the controversy.