"Girls" is a collaboration between British singers Rita Ora, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX and American rapper Cardi B. It is track number eleven and the third single from Ora's upcoming album, Phoenix. The song was released on 11 May, 2018 by Atlantic Records. It was written by Ora, Klenord Raphael, Ali Tamposi, Jonny Coffer, Jordan Thorpe, Belcalis Almanzar, Brian Lee, Watt and Benjamin Diehl, while the production was handled by Ben Billions, Coffer and Watt.
The collaboration was announced on 4 May, 2018. Ora described the song as an "empowering anthem":
"These past few years I've been so inspired by all the strong women I've seen who aren't afraid to be themselves. For those who aren’t afraid to rule the world, this is our anthem. A celebration of love. And of course, thank you to all the fellow boss women who so kindly graced this song with me — each representing who they are and where they are from [...]"
The song tackles themes of female empowerment, self-love, and bisexuality. It finds the four performers "entertaining the thought" of getting intimate with other women, as described by XXL.
The first two lines of the song are possibly an allusion to Lara Croft, an extremely influential British video game character who started off as an icon for women empowerment and who also later became a gay icon. The line is touching on how Lara Croft was one of the first female video game characters who had her own narrative and did not rely on men. She set a standard in the media for the changing roles of women in society at the time, and also helped many women discover their sexuality by showing it was okay to be in tune with one's own body. Rita and Charli are both British, so chances are they both have been exposed and are fans of this icon, hence the line.
Ora also implies throughout the song that she is sexually attracted to both males and females.
In an interview with People, Ora said:
"I knew people were going to look into it like that. I definitely said it because I can — and it was one of those things where, if I was 50/50… I’m not saying I’m 70/30… I’m 50/50, and I’m not gonna hide it. I’m not hiding what I am, who I am, if I wanna do this, if I wanna do that. That’s just how it’s gonna be.
Not only has her bisexuality been hinted in interviews and songs, but also rumored from public friendships, such as that with model Cara Delevingne. When asked if the friendship had transitioned to a sexual encounter since to people it seemed ambiguous, she responded:
"Well that's the point."
Ora has also stated:
"And Girls is one of my exciting songs which I can’t wait for people to hear. It’s like the record I made to, it’s my twisted way of showing love for the girls in this industry."
The music video for Girls was released on 6 June, 2018. It was directed by Helmi.
Ora performed the song live for the first time at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend on 28 May, 2017, with Charli XCX and Raye, one year before its release as an official single. Her first televised performance was on the season finale of Germany's Next Topmodel on 24 May 2018.
American singers Hayley Kiyoko, who identifies as a gay woman, and Kehlani, who identifies as queer, criticised the song for being "harmful" to the LGBTQ community. Kiyoko referred to the song in a tweet she posted as being "tone-deaf", stating that the song "fueled the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women." Kehlani voiced her opinion in a series of tweets, "I have an incredible song out with one of the artists, and would love to work with the other three as well. I have met them all and respect them. There. Were. Harmful. Lyrics." She concluded her tweets with: "Every artist on the song is fantastic, and very much loved and supported by me... by all of us. But this isn't about talent, it's about choice." Several days later, Ora apologised for unintended offense.
- Digital download
- "Girls" (featuring Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX) – 3:41
- Digital download
- "Girls" (featuring Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX) (Martin Jensen Remix) – 4:20
- Digital download
- "Girls" (featuring Cardi B, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX) (Steve Aoki Remix) – 3:45