On Thursday, Halsey, a 23-year-old singer, took to Twitter to complain that hotels don’t provide shampoo designed for people with color. “I’ve been traveling for years now and it’s been so frustrating that the hotel toiletry industry entirely alienates people of color,” she said. “I can’t use this perfumed watered down white people shampoo.”
Halsey has over 9.6 million followers on Twitter, and the initial tweet gathered more than 11,000 comments.
The replies were divided largely into two camps: those who thought the complaint was highly trivial and those who believed that the shampoo choices of hotels were “racist.”
One comment stated, according to a report by the Daily Mail, “You’re one of my favorite female artists, but hos in the f*** can shampoo be racist LOL dumb for this one.”
Halsey responded, tweeting, “How can u have lived ur entire life without knowing that people of color and white people require different hair care products.”
Some people also debated whether Halsey herself is a person of color. Halsey’s mother is white and her father is African American.
Replying to a user who said that Halsey was white, she replied, “No. I am Not.”
When one Twitter user mentioned, “So bring your own shampoo,” Halsey replied, saying, “I’m fortunate enough to be financially in a position to do so, but POC traveling frequently for work/medical reasons might not be. Just making a point is all!”
When one user asserted that the issue wasn’t with “white hair products,” just that hotels provide “cheap hair products,” Halsey responded, saying, “The point is that mass production of those products as the standard is part of a greater problem of disenfranchisement. If white ppl can enjoy the luxury/convenience, there should be an option for everyone to.”
In a comment that supported Halsey’s perspective, a user wrote: “She’s not saying it to start riots or some s***. You need to remember this is one of many small things that POC go through that makes them feel like we don’t matter enough to be catered to. It’s a microaggression.”
Halsey also pointed out that “it’s not just hotels.” She wrote, “I stayed in a psychiatric hospital as a teenager and they didn’t have hair products for patients who were POC.”
The singer seemed to have underestimated the level of response to her post. Her last tweet on the subject read: “It’s about being made to feel unincluded. Which is, obviously, a far greater problem than shampoo. I never wanna talk about soap ever again lol.”