Donald Glover and Janine Nabers’ new series Swarm just debuted on Amazon Prime Video, and Paris Jackson’s role has already got people talking.
In the second episode of the series, titled “Honey,” Jackson shows up as the character Hailey. In a conversation with protagonist Andrea Green, portrayed by Dominique Fishback, Hailey suggests she was forced to leave a relationship because “he couldn’t accept me being Black.” Dre replies, “You’re Black?”
“Yeah, my dad’s half. … That’s why my stage name’s Halsey,” she replies. “You do know who Halsey is right? Have you been living under a rock, she’s like the best singer out!”
The moment has got Twitter users talking, and not just because it’s coming from Michael Jackson’s daughter. Halsey, 28, has faced criticism at times for not speaking out on Black issues, and addressed such backlash in a tweet shared in June 2020.
“I’m white passing. It’s not my place to say ‘we,’” the singer wrote. “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.” In 2017 she told Playboy, “I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one. I’m a black woman. It’s been weird navigating that.”
Paris Jackson, 24, has faced questions about her race throughout her career. Speaking with the Straits Times in 2017, “I consider myself black. [My dad] would look me in the eyes and he’d point his finger at me and he’d be like, ‘You’re black. Be proud of your roots.’ And I’d be like, ‘Okay, he’s my dad, why would he lie to me?’”
Check out reactions to the Swarm moment below.