Halsey Opened Up About Growing Up White-Passing In A Mixed-Race Family
She got real about her privilege, too.
Halsey’s had a lot on her mind lately. First, she’s super pregnant. Second, she has a new album dropping in August, titled If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. Oh, and with that album comes an hour-long film she co-directed (which will epically be shown in IMAX — yes, IMAX). But, even though the Manic singer-songwriter’s got a full plate at the moment, they still make time to reflect on their identity. Recently, Halsey’s quotes about growing up “white-passing” shed so much light on the unique and often complicated experience that many mixed-race individuals share.
Throughout the years, Halsey has been pretty open about their identity as a biracial person who has a white mom and Black dad. For instance, in 2017, they explained to Playboy that although they identify with Black culture, they acknowledge they look “like a white girl” and are perceived by society as racially white, explaining: "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.”
In June 2020, the pop star also reiterated that they identify as “white-passing” when Black Lives Matter protests — which they took part in — ensued across the U.S. in response to the murder of George Floyd and police brutality at large. “It’s not my place to say ‘we,’” they tweeted. “It’s my place to help... It’d be an absolute disservice to say ‘we’ when I’m not susceptible to the same violence [as people who are phenotypically Black].”
But self-awareness is an ever-evolving journey, and this month, Halsey has proven yet again that she’s never quite done thinking critically about her mixed-race identity and experiences. In a July cover story for Allure, the 26-year-old musician got super real (again) about being biracial.
“A lot of people try to write off a lot of my experiences because I present white,” they said. “No matter how many tears I’ve shed because I’m not connecting with my family or my culture in a way that I would like to, or because the waitress thinks I’m the babysitter when I go out with my family, none of that would compare to the tears that I would shed for presenting phenotypically Black and the disadvantages and the violence that I would face because of that.”
Halsey also noted that growing up in a mixed-race household entailed a unique family dynamic. “[I’ve] for sure [benefited from presenting as white] — my family has a lot of guilt about [that], but I think this is really common for mixed families,” she admitted. “You want your kids to have an advantage in life. That, unfortunately, puts them in a position of denying their heritage.”
However, this aspect of her upbringing only better equips Halsey and her boyfriend, Turkish screenwriter Alev Aydin, to raise their child with even more cognizance.
“I’m biracial, Alev is Middle Eastern, and our child is going to have a Black grandfather and a Turkish grandfather — there’s Christmas and there’s Ramadan,” they said. “They’re going to grow up in this kind of multicultural home and I have new challenges because of that.”
Hearing Halsey share their experiences on being mixed-race is always so insightful. No doubt they’ll do an amazing job raising an ethnically mixed kiddo!