V127: The Thought Leaders Issue With Halsey

The singer and activist on Black Lives Matter, peaceful protesting, and defunding the police.

V127’s Thought Leaders Issue is available for pre-order now.

“It’s more important to vote right now than it has ever been. There are millions of lives at risk, and if it’s not millions of lives, then it’s the safety and comfort of millions of lives. I’ve seen my fans line up outside of a venue for three days to get into a concert, and I’ve seen people line up outside of a GameStop because a new Call of Duty game is dropping. They should be doing the exact same thing at a polling center. It’s like, Go get in line!

“I’m mixed-race and white-passing, and part of the [Black Lives Matter] protests put me in a position where I was subject to being shot with rubber bullets, and where I was subject to violence. Part of the reason for my participation is because my family is Black. Every time I see a name in the news, it could be my family. Being subject to violence [at the protests] gave me a lot of perspective. I’ve always been a part of an activity like that since I was a pre-teen—I was in the streets for Occupy Wall Street—so I’m a seasoned protester. I see people’s values change as they start making money, but they haven’t changed for me.

Halsey wears top Celine by Hedi Slimane.


“I want to see America funding separate institutions that benefit the well-being of different communities. The defund the police [movement], and the deconstruction of that really means putting more money into social services and mental health services. I’ve seen the way that mental health services can turn someone’s life around, as someone who received them at the benefit of the state before I was making enough money to be able to afford it myself.

“There is an expectation of public figures right now to be politically outspoken. When I first started in 2014, I feel like I was chastised for speaking politically, and now the tables have turned where you are chastised if you don’t. Which you should, but it also puts movements at risk for becoming homogenized or watered down. Like, the idea that the Black Lives Matter banner on your page is just a commodity and detracts from the movement. My favorite thing is when public figures take the opportunity to pass the mic and uplift Black voices using their platform. The right thing is to say is, ‘This isn’t about me.’”


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