Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, aka “Now or Never” and “Closer” singer Halsey, recently gave an interview to Paper magazine in which she strongly criticized the way the pop music industry uses bisexuality, seeming to specifically call out the way certain pop stars use the orientation as a flat-out marketing tactic.
“There’s bi-phobia from the straight community and from the LGBT community. There’s a lack of acceptance,” Halsey, who is openly bisexual, said. “It happens in TV all the time when people write bisexual characters as going through a phase or struggling with something. It’s part of some mental breakdown or rebellion storyline, and that just sucks.” In response to the lack of pop culture dealing with bisexuality in a mature, realistic fashion, Halsey penned the song “Strangers,” with features Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui, who is herself also openly bisexual:
Speaking about the song, Halsey noted that the majority of pop songs that deal with the subject, but only as a taboo intended to titillate listeners rather than take bisexuality seriously. “That narrative is so fucking damaging to bisexuality and its place in society. That’s something I’ve had to fight my whole life and something I still fight,” Halsey said of songs with themes like “‘don’t tell your mom’ or ‘we shouldn’t do this’ or ’this feels so wrong but it’s so right.’”
If those lyrics and themes seem to remind you of any songs in particular, well, you’re not alone. Demi Lovato definitely picked up on the fact that Halsey might be referring to her 2015 single “Cool For The Summer,” which sparked off rumours that Lovato was bisexual at the time of its release.
You know a song is a hit when people are still talking about the lyrics two years later. 💁🏻#shhhhdonttellyourmother
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) June 23, 2017
Some of Lovato’s fans were on board:
Others thought Halsey might have a point:
demi this is not the way to deal with things?? the song does kinda imply that two women having an "affair" is something to be ashamed of
— matilde (@seulgwans) June 23, 2017
Hi bisexuality isn't something to be ashamed of or to be seen as something to hide thanks!
— saint seya (@lmjleader) June 23, 2017
Halsey hasn’t responded yet to any shade, real otherwise, from Lovato’s camp. Lately, she’s been dealing with some questioning why an outspoken queer artist like herself would feature someone like Migos’ Quavo on her album, when it’s now clear he’s substantially less than totally accepting of LGBTQ artists. Still, Halsey is handling herself well:
I work tirelessly to represent & support marginalized communities I love & am a part of. I'm sorry if my actions have ever seemed otherwise.
— h (@halsey) June 23, 2017
See above for how to properly handle shade.