- Popular singer Halsey has recently posted a photo on Instagram showing her wearing box braids. Though the photograph was Halsey announcing the birth of her child, the photograph exploded for different reasons entirely.
Many were upset with Halsey’s choice of sporting box braids. Though she is mixed, she is white passing and many were confused or concerned on why she would promote this. Some say that it just hair and that people are taking things too seriously when it comes to the discourse of who can and cannot wear certain hairstyles. However, the history behind box braids is rich and apart of Black history.
Something about Halsey wearing braids doesn’t sit right with me and my ancestors pic.twitter.com/Zc5m1uY3G8
— ✞ (@MODEYKAI) July 19, 2021
Why it matters
Box braids can be traced back to 3500 B.C and have been an important part of Black culture. They used to signify wealth or marital status. In June of 2020, Halsey referred to herself as white passing when in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement. She also noted how it was not her place to say “we” in reference to her skin color.
im white passing. it’s not my place to say “we”. it’s my place to help. i am in pain for my family, but nobody is gonna kill me based on my skin color. I’ve always been proud of who I am but it’d be an absolute disservice to say “we” when I’m not susceptible to the same violence. https://t.co/2p6RVJixwl
— h (@halsey) June 3, 2020
As someone who was trying to be an advocate, it seemed strange that she would say this but also wear a hair style that some might find offensive. It made people wonder about Halsey and her true intentions. Some noted that it was “tone deaf” and disrespectful to Black women to be wearing the braids as a white passing woman. And though she is mixed, her hair texture is not the kind to be able to support this hairstyle.
In addition, many Black woman who wear their hair naturally have been called unprofessional in the work space, which is a micro aggression that many Black women have been trying to advocate against. Many are arguing that it is disrespectful for Halsey to wear her hair in box braids as a white woman for a fashion statement when Black women cannot wear it in order to celebrate their culture without being deemed unprofessional. Many people voiced that Halsey could take off the braids and operate the world as a white woman, while Black women did not have this choice.