In The Defense Of Halsey

In The Defense Of Halsey

Halsey has been treated unfairly and it's time to stop

Recently Halsey’s 2nd album - Hopeless Fountain Kingdom - peaked at #1 on the billboard charts making her the first woman to do that this year ( with Lady Gaga’s “Joanne” being the last one 7 months ago). With this amazing news, it became clear to me that Halsey has a pretty major PR problem. While this hasn’t affected her albums sales that much,it is pretty mainstream to hate Halsey . This criticism is confusing to me because it just seems random. I think it’s really funny how people choose to hate Halsey over some other people, but before I go into that let's provide some background info on her.

Ashley Nicolette Frangipane ( September 29, 1994), aka Halsey , is an American singer and songwriter from Washington, New Jersey. Her stage name is a reference to the Halsey Street station of the New York City Subway in Brooklyn, and an anagram of her first name. She is internet-procaimed ‘tri-bi’ (a label Frangipane absolutely hates after she got pusback from it) which refers to her being bircial, bisexual, and bipolar. She has an eccentric personality, is very attractive, dresses provocatively, loves having blue hair, has lots of tattoos, and loves to keep the sides of her head shaved. These are all things that she seems to be pretty self aware about.

I was the new kid and I had the sides of my head shaved and tattoos. And I was a fuckin' weirdo

So where does the hate come in? Some very quick research into this provided a plethora of material. The main issues being:

“She’s a pop industry robot” (because of her liberal views, sexuality, and mental health issues)
She can’t sing (something Halsey openly admits)
“She tries too hard to be edgy and does the most”
"She’s lying about her past"
"She’s from New Jersey, but claims New York"
"She kisses fans many of whom are underage*(1 was)" - Twitter for this
"She’s too popular for the level of talent she has"
"She’s fake"

Disregarding the teenagers’s claim, all of these sound like the main theme of hating Halsey has more to do with her as a person and little to do with her music. One of our editors pointed out that she “sounds like every EDM singer ever” but that person listens to Lil Uzi Vert, so I’m writing them off as a jealous hater. Nevertheless, none of these actually have anything to do with her music at all; something Halsey has recognized on multiple occasions - whether it be about her being bisexual, bipolar, “tri-bi,” or just not being genuine it seems to be all ad hominem attacks.

“I mean, there's a ton of biphobia — people refuse to accept bisexuality as an actual sexuality. And I'm biracial, but also white-passing, which is a unique perspective. So these kids say, like, 'Oh, fucking tri-bi Halsey! She'll never miss an opportunity to talk about it!' I want to sit them down like a mom and go, 'Six months ago you were begging for an artist that would talk about this shit! But then I do, and you say, oh, not her. Someone else.'”

But most of the hate seems to stem from her infamous Rolling Stone interview.

The key takeaways are this -

Halsey came off as an eccentric, sratty party girl from the very beginning

“Or that she has previously been detained by the police for drinking in the park – she ran, but left behind a backpack filled with schoolwork bearing her name – but has never yet been arrested. "I'm really good at getting out of stuff, it appears," she says. She leans back on a picnic blanket and takes a deep swig from her Solo cup.”

After getting accepted into the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, she quit school, and her parents kicked her out - leaving her homeless - where she struggled to get by.

“She was technically homeless, having been kicked out by her parents after quitting school ("They just didn't agree with a lot of things about me"). Her phone service had been cut off. She had no health insurance. Her friends would pool their money to split a $1 slice of pizza and then get high in their underwear on a roof somewhere. "I remember one time I had $9 in my bank account," she says later, "and bought a four-pack of Red Bull and used it to stay up overnight over the course of two or three days, because it was less dangerous to not sleep than it was to sleep somewhere random and maybe get raped or kidnapped."”

She has attempted suicide and has since then been diagnosed with bipolar disorder which has affected her trajectory significantly.

“ She's tweeted about her suicide attempt at age 17, when she tried to overdose on ‘mostly over-the-counter painkillers,’ regretted it immediately, told her parents, wound up in a psychiatric hospital for 17 days, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, for which she was, for a time, put on lithium ("Lithium ruined my life; I haven't taken medication for years").” “"I didn't like being Ashley Frangipane," she says. "It was a person I thought was weak and silly and sad." She came up with the name Halsey – an anagram of Ashley – while riding the subway to Brooklyn's Halsey Street stop.”

She has had a miscarriage and performed afterwards

“ ("What happens? Do I lose my record deal? Do I lose everything? Or do I keep [the pregnancy]? What are the fans going to think? What are the moms going to think? What is the Midwest going to think? What's fucking everyone going to think?"), and before she can even decide what to do, she's screaming on a hotel bed, bloody, naked from the waist down, hours before she's to go onstage”

Now I admit that all of this is a lot to take in. Truthfully as a bipolar person myself, I actually understand where she’s coming from and her actions. They are irrational, over the top, and seem to not make since; all things that I completely deal with constantly. However, many people do not share my sentiment and question the validity of her story, and even criticize her for exploiting the various communities she’s identifying with. While these critics may have a valid point in some cases, many seem to be objectively unfair. For example, when pressed on her sexuality she responded…

“People will say, ‘Halsey’s pretending to be bisexual to get more album sales.’ I’m like, wow, goddamn, it is incredible that we live in a fucking year where being queer helps you sell records,” she says with a laugh, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “Like, that’s a pretty wild development in the music industry.”

And in that same interview, she addressed that people need to see her as more than “tri-bi.”

“That’s meeee, that’s how you sum me up in a nutshell,” she says with an exasperated laugh. “I’m so much more than that. I like to cook and I paint really well, and I play eight instruments. I write, I’m well traveled, I have so many more experiences and talents and interests than these things that I’ve been condensed into.”

There are even people questioning the validity about her bipolar disorder, which struck me as very strange and outright offensive. Her story seemed genuine, was evocative of my own experiences, and I too hate lithium. If viewing from a vindictive lens one could easily question every single claim she has made, however to question who she is based off malice is pure hatred, especially since she’s brought more attention to the disorder and has been a beacon showing people struggling with it that they can still be successful. (PS even go mentioned in /r/bipolar ). So until proven otherwise, you're just a hater, and stop it.

In addition, people had an issue with her “fakeness” and lumping in the “fakeness” with a few other criticisms, one can just call these hating motherfuckers critics petty. For example the claiming NY but from NJ thing is hardly relevant since that’s common in the tri state area, and many of the people calling her fake refer to her “bullying” people on twitter in her youth; and plagiarizing songs from Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. This stems for Halsey proudly claiming that she is music fan and writes her own songs. Undoubtedly, she has been inspired by these artist but the disdain is not proportional, especially since many other artists (rap artists) don't even have lyrics, and no one says anything. In addition, besides the (sometimes overly) melodramatic content of her lyrics, Halsey seemingly having an ingenuine personality seems incredibly strange since she is one of the most eccentric personalities in pop culture right now - bar Lady Gaga. It seems that when someone genuine comes along with no scandals people can't really handle themselves. Lastly, while we are here, Halsey is on record saying she can't sing and goes to defend herself...

“"I'M NOT ACTUALLY EVEN A VERY GOOD SINGER." “Yeah, I mean, I write all my own music—I'm a writer at heart. I'm not actually even a very good singer. I'm not. I'm okay with admitting that because some of the best musicians in history weren't great singers: Patti Smith, Bob Dylan. I loved a guy named Conor Oberst who's in a band called Bright Eyes. He can't sing. Love him. And it's cool because it's almost like the most liberating thing ever. This is a side note, but I can go up on stage and not have to worry about if I sing good because I already kinda can't. I don't have to worry about hitting runs and being ridiculous. For me it's about emotion.”

Nevertheless, it infuriates me that people love to hate on a talented singer/songwriter who has amazing cross appeal for being herself while they support actual criminals who have harmed people and made songs about it (despite her infamously kissing a 15 year old fan once). She has an incredible story and is the underdog that made it to the big leagues whose very inspiring while openly talking about feminism , mental health, and progressive rights; an artist that people love to hate because she's popular and amazing. Faking bipolar disorder would only hurt her, as well as faking being queer; It’s almost like her having a personality and not conforming to social norms gets people heated, but you know…. She does not deserve any of the hate she gets, and let's not pretend like you hate her for any actual valid reason - PSA hating her will not make your life better. Anyway, support Halsey’s latest album “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom ,“ which is incredible by the way, and if you have any response please do not hesitate to comment.