Sometimes, being a pop star is about more than just producing massive hits. That’s definitely true for Halsey, 24, who has spent much of her career creating fun, dance-ready music for fans, as well as speaking out and advocating for what she believes in on a regular basis.
Whether it’s a series of tweets or a speech at a major event, Halsey has become known for using her platform to talk about the issues she cares about. Ranging from LGBTQ representation to America’s immigration policy, the “Bad at Love” singer has made it known that she will not quiet down simply because it makes some people uncomfortable.
Her moments of advocacy have been abundant recently, from talking about her experience with sexual assault at the 2018 Women’s March in New York City, to calling out the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for what she said was a lack of inclusivity. Here are 8 times that Halsey has used her platform to promote social justice:
June 2017: Her love letter to the LGBTQ community
Back in 2017, Halsey penned a love letter to the LGBTQ community for Billboard Pride in honor of Pride Month. While she easily could have written a paragraph or two, the star wrote a long thank you to her LGBTQ brothers and sisters, saying that she recognizes the presence of the LGBTQ community on a daily basis. The singer said thank you for the support she’s received from the community, which has helped her find strength to imbue her art with queer meaning. “And so I shout it. As loud as I can. In my lyrics. In my art. In a rainbow flag waving across thousands of pixels across my stage,” she wrote. “I shout it in the faces of the oppressors and I shout it hand in hand with both my beautiful young fans, and the queer folk that I look up to everyday.”
— h (@halsey) January 20, 2018
January 2018: Her speech about sexual assault at the 2018 Women’s March
In the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency and the rise of the #MeToo movement, Halsey took to the stage at the 2018 Women’s March in New York to read a poem she wrote for the event, titled “A Story Like Mine.” She emotionally spoke about her numerous experiences with sexual assault. After the gut-wrenching speech, the star sent a message to the world, saying that hers is far from the only story like this. “Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs/ Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues,” she said. “For the people who had to grow up way too young/ There is work to be done.”
May 2018: Her acceptance speech for GLAAD’s Outstanding Musical Artist of 2018
Earlier this year, Halsey was awarded GLAAD’s Outstanding Musical Artist Award. In a speech she wrote and sent in via video, she thanked the organization for recognizing her and for their continued work to improve the lives of LGBTQ people everywhere. But along with speaking about her life and her experiences, Halsey also took the opportunity to highlight the ever-present problem of homelessness among queer youth. After laying out the heartbreaking statistics, she sent a message to her fans: “Go home and check out your local homeless youth services and see if they offer anything targeted towards the LGBTQ youth,” she said. “See how you can get involved.”
It literally IS a bisexual story. Luna has romantic relationships with both Rosa and Solis. Her relationship with a man doesn’t nullify her bisexuality. Not in an imaginary music video universe and not in real life either !!!!!! Ok!!!!!! https://t.co/xVP73hwdeS
— h (@halsey) June 20, 2018
June 2018: Her response to fans calling her “Strangers” video too straight
Even with her own fans, Halsey occasionally finds herself playing defense. After releasing her music video for “Strangers” with Lauren Jauregui earlier this year, Halsey saw fans saying online that the video was falsely advertised, and that there wasn’t enough queer representation in the clip. But she stood up for her video, saying that just because a piece of art features a man and woman in a romantic relationship does not negate its queerness. “It literally IS a bisexual story,” she wrote on Twitter, telling her fans that her character’s sexuality is not based on the person she’s with. “Her relationship with a man doesn’t nullify her bisexuality. Not in an imaginary music video universe and not in real life either!!!!!!”
November 2018: Her poem she performed at the Glamour’s Women of the Year event
In yet another stunning speech, Halsey debuted and performed her poem “An Inconvenient Woman” to a room full of industry women at Glamour‘s 2018 Women of the Year event. The poem details a number of different scenarios where women ask to be treated equally and are called “inconvenient” for it. But the star ended her poem by reaching out to the women watching, saying that their inherent “inconvenience” is what makes them great. “I’m here to say that I’m not sorry/ For being…inconvenient./ You were not put on this earth to make everybody else’s life easier./ So please, be inconvenient,” she said.
so how historically formulaic does this need to be before we recognize the path this is taking… fucking hell…
don’t say “numbers?! what’s next?!”
because they aren’t hiding the pattern from you. you know what’s next. https://t.co/hW8rUkJNwA
— h (@halsey) December 1, 2018
November 2018: Her outrage about a photo of Mexican immigrants being stamped with numbers
While the Trump administration spent much of 2018 making life harder for immigrants and their families — especially by separating children from their families at the border — there was one move that got Halsey’s undivided attention. In a tweet from November, Halsey shared a photo of three individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. who had numbers stamped on their arms. The singer distinctly pointed out the not-so-subtle similarities to the way Jews were tattooed with numbers on their arms during the Holocaust as part of the Nazi’s Final Solution. “How historically formulaic does this need to be before we recognize the path this is taking,” she wrote on Twitter. “Don’t say ‘numbers?! what’s next?!’ because they aren’t hiding the pattern from you. You know what’s next.”
December 2018: Her statement regarding the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show’s non-inclusive practices
After a Vogue interview where Victoria’s Secret’s chief marketing officer said that transgender and plus-sized people should not be included among the models at the company’s world-famous fashion show, Halsey had enough. Following her performance on the pre-taped prime time fashion show, the star took to her Instagram to let her fans know that what the company was doing was not okay with her. Before asking her fans to give their money to GLSEN, an LGBTQ+ non-profit organization, she let it be known that these statements were not okay. “I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity,” she said. “We stand in solidarity, and complete and total acceptance is the only ‘fantasy’ that I support,” she said.
Very proud of the emotional performance i did with @JadeChynoweth on @NBCTheVoice tonight. And also very proud to have pissed off thw homophobic viewers at home who missed the message. Thanks for watching. —-
— h (@halsey) December 19, 2018
December 2018: Her response to homophobic viewers after her performance on The Voice.
After serving as an advisor on Jennifer Hudson’s team for this season of The Voice, Halsey got the opportunity to perform her new track “Without Me” with dancer Jade Chynoweth during the show’s finale. But some viewers took offense to the performance, saying that the two women’s occasionally erotic dance style was inappropriate for television. Halsey clapped back on Twitter, letting them know that she was proud of her performance and thanking NBC for supporting her. “Very proud of the emotional performance I did with @JadeChynoweth on @NBCTheVoice tonight,” she wrote. “And also very proud to have pissed off the homophobic viewers at home who missed the message. Thanks for watching.”
Represention matters. Thanks @NBCTheVoice for giving a space for this vision to come to life. — and thank you @JadeChynoweth for being an incredible human who used her body like the ultimate instrument for this collaboration.
— h (@halsey) December 19, 2018