Halsey is an American singer-songwriter from New Jersey; her albums include Badlands and Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. What many people don't about Halsey, especially not upon first glance, is that Halsey is mixed race.
Halsey is biracial — her father is Black, her mother white, and Halsey is open about race, which is incredibly important, because mixed kids need to see ourselves and our identities reflected throughout mediums.
Halsey often speaks about being biracial in interviews and maintains pride at being mixed race while also recognizing the proximity to whiteness that this grants her: "I’m white-passing. I’ve accepted that about myself and have never tried to control anything about Black culture that’s not mine. I’m proud to be in a biracial family, I’m proud of who I am".
Halsey is paving the way for other young mixed/biracial creators by not shying away from being mixed, but also by talking about the nuances that come with it. Halsey commented, "[o]ne of my big jokes a long time ago was ‘I look white, but I still have white boys in my life asking me why my nipples are brown.’"
This joke is especially significant as it represents an entire culture, the culture of interrogation of mixed individuals about our race, phenotype, habits, place of origin — a rampant culture especially prevalent among teenagers. And such a culture often mounts rising tensions and questions of our own about how and where we fit in to the cultural abyss we are born into. Halsey touches on how this rhetoric has impacted her identity: "[e]very now and then I experience these racial blips. I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one. I’m a Black woman. So[,] it’s been weird navigating that. When I was growing up I didn’t know if I was supposed to love TLC or Britney.”
The incessant questioning of mixed individuals conveys to mixed people that there is a certain expectation of our behavior, one we can never seem to fulfill, no matter how hard we try. We already grapple with unneeded racial pressure to conform — to what, many of us do not know.
*All quotes are from Halsey to Playboy via JustJared.com, and here is the source for Halsey's picture.