Fans assumed that Halsey was calling out her ex-boyfriend, G-Eazy this weekend when she performed "Without Me" on SNL. She belted out her breakup ballad on a set covered in jagged painted words, apparently confessions of infidelity to her. She did not specify who the set was aimed at, but on Sunday morning she revealed that she was committed to the transparency.
"As an artist, I have a privilege to remain honest and write about what's true to me," she wrote. "As a woman, I have a responsibility to not allow myself to be silenced by someone who has done me wrong. My truth will always come through in my art. Death over silence, yo."
as an artist, I have a privilege to remain honest and write about what’s true to me.
as a woman, I have a responsibility to not allow myself to be silenced by someone who has done me wrong.
my truth will always come through in my art. death over silence, yo.— h (@halsey) February 10, 2019
Halsey began her song in pitch dark, with a spotlight illuminating just her and the solitary piano player behind her. As she reached the second refrain, the lights came up, revealing that the walls and floor were covered in words.
"I'm so sorry Ashley I cheated," they read. "I'm so sorry."
More text scattered around the set included some of the cities where Halsey — whose stage name is an anagram of her real first name, Ashley — had been cheated on. It said: "In Minneapolis," "In New Orleans," "At home in Los Angeles" and "More places that I can't even remember."
Fans were in awe of the performance, and the bold set that took aim at Halsey's ex. She and G-Eazy broke up in October—the same month that "Without Me" was initially released. Halsey retweeted one compliment in particular, from another singer who is apparently a personal hero of hers.
"That was a killer performance of #WithoutMe on #SNL," wrote Kelly Clarkson. "Your vocals, the story, the writing on the wall. Best performance I've seen in a while. Raw. Painful. Pure. Thanks for being you!"
"I.. am going to cry," Halsey responded. "I saw u at staples the night I found out I was hosting. I cried and laughed and you reminded me why i do this so this goes -such- a long way. Kelly thank u for being one of the reasons I write ur a queen."
I.. am going to cry. I saw u at staples the night I found out I was hosting. I cried and laughed and you reminded me why i do this so this goes -such- a long way. Kelly thank u for being one of the reasons I write ur a queen. //t.co/4hQwLxp1VN— h (@halsey) February 10, 2019
Halsey served as both host an musical guest on this week's episode of SNL, an honor that only 37 musicians before her have had. Her musical performances were revered by viewers, while her appearances in skits got mixed reviews.
SNL will be back next week with another new episode, hosted by Don Cheadle and featuring musical guest Gary Clark Jr. The show airs every weekend at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.