Woman of the Week: Halsey


(1994 - )


Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, stage name Halsey, was born on September 29, 1994, in Edison, New Jersey. Both of her parents dropped out of college to raise Frangipane, each taking on numerous jobs to make ends meet. Frangipane was born an instrumentalist with a background playing the violin, viola, cello, piano, and acoustic guitar, all by age fourteen.


Her high school years were tumultuous to say the least. By the time she was a teenager, she had been enrolled in six schools. Frangipane underwent harassment after a private photo leaked, which was spread throughout her high school. She attempted to commit suicide, she was diagnosed as bipolar, and she was hospitalized for seventeen days. Her home life was loud and violent, hardly an escape from the chaos of the stress of simply being a teenager. After graduating high school, Frangipane received a scholarship to attend Rhode Island School of Design, but couldn’t accept the offer because of its costs. Frangipane enrolled in, and later dropped out of, a local community college. Due to her dropping out and other disagreements with her parents, she was kicked out of her house. She couch-surfed with friends and friends of friends throughout New Jersey and Brooklyn, NY. When she wasn’t crashing at someone else’s place, Frangipane stayed overnight in homeless shelters.


Her musical career started out as a way to promote her writing, and very humbly did it begin. Rolling Stone reports: “She ‘only started writing music as a way to get people to pay attention to her poems. ‘It was the first time I’d ever been in a studio,’ she says, ‘and by ‘studio’ I mean someone’s basement that had a microphone and recording equipment.’” During her first meeting at the recording studio, Frangipane began writing the song “Ghost”. After a few weeks after uploading the track onto SoundCloud, five labels had contacted her. Despite not having a record deal, her song had reached the charts.



Frangipane’s life changed yet again once she began releasing albums. According to her published discography, her debut studio album, Badlands, released in 2015, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and sold 115,000 copies in its first week of release and was certified Platinum, ranking Gold in the United Kingdom. Frangipane's second album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, released in 2017, reached number one on the Billboard 200 with 106,000 copies sold in its first week of release. Her third studio album Manic will be released in 2020. The album’s pre-release track titled "Without Me" has already reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been certified triple Platinum in the US and quintuple Platinum in Canada and Australia (Billboard).



The singer is also known for her activim, both as a feminist, a trans supporter, and survivor of attempted suicide. Lyndsey Havens, author of "Halsey, Logic, Michael Angelakos & More To Participate in Mental Health Awareness & Suicide Prevention Campaign 'I'm Listening'” reported of Frangipane’s activism in 2017, when the singer participated in a campaign called “I’m Listening”, which raises awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.


Additionally, Frangipane had something to say after the Victoria’s Secret fashion show of 2018. After the company’s cheif marketing officer made it clear that he did not want trans models in VS shows, Frangipane took to Instagram. She used her influence to promote the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as well as uplift members of the LGBTQ community. Frangipane’s vocal activism can be found through her social media: @halsey on Twitter and Instagram at @iamhalsey.


Kate Feldman, author of "Halsey pledges to donate $100,000 to Planned Parenthood after social media campaign" reported the publicizing of Frangipane’s feminist activism after “the 2017 Women's March, Halsey sent out a tweet that promised to donate one dollar to Planned Parenthood for every retweet it received. She ended up donating $100,000 to Planned Parenthood. Halsey delivered a speech to more than 200,000 protesters at the 2018 Women's March.” Frangipane shared a spoken word poem titled "A Story Like Mine", a mosaic of her struggles that she wished to share with other women, in order to create and foster understanding. Her poem focused on her experiences, or those of whom she knew, who had visited Planned Parenthood or were sexually mistreated.


She has also participated in marches and uses her social media platforms to strike out at misogynistic and homophobic action and speech.


The Rolling Stones report continues: “While her bank account might look a little different — okay, much different — her views on economic inequality haven't changed. ‘I don't think there's any amount of money that I could ever make that would make me think it's okay to deprive people of human rights,’ she said . . . “I’m not just some fucking martyr who’s trying to make all of these lost, misfit kids feel better; I need them to help me feel normal too.”


Frangipane reached success not only as a singer/ songwriter, but as an advocate and activist. She exemplifies the power a woman has, not only in sheer talent, but with the grit that only grows from hardship and is refined by using a public platform as a means to encourage and uplift others.