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Hayley Kiyoko And Kehlani’s What I Need’ Is The LGBTQ+ Love Song We Deserve

In May, a supergroup of women assembled to drop what should have been a powerhouse single celebrating womanhood. Instead, Rita Ora’s track “Girls,” which featured Bebe Rehxa, Charli XCX, and Cardi B missed the mark and ended up being criticized for trivializing the experiences of the LGBTQ community.

Many artists responded to the single, including Canadian singer Charlotte Day Wilson and pop stars Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani (check out their comments here). Now the latter, have released their duet “What I Need,” with the two artists giving fans a song that features the inclusivity we had hoped to hear with “Girls.”

With “What I Need,” Kiyoko and Kehlani do their part to move the culture needle forward, penning a track about two women who have feelings for one another, but are struggling with one person who isn’t quite ready to be out of the closet. It’s a heavy and relatable subject matter set to an up tempo, dance-friendly backbeat, making “What I Need” a song that can easily land on Top 40 radio play and reach a wider audience that may be dealing with the same issue.

Kiyoko continues her triple threat status as an actor, musician, and director, stepping behind the camera once again to direct her latest video with Kehlani. The two women show off their impressive acting range, looking natural on camera as friends who are caught in between wanting to be more and not knowing how the other party is feeling. Regardless of how viewers identify, “What I Need” depicts a situation many can relate to in their own romantic life.

“What I Need” is part of Kiyoko’s full-length debut album Expectations, which was released in March.