Asian Beat: Haley Kiyoko


Alright, y’all. I’m eating quarantine snacks and chilling inside, but it’s also that time of year when the weather will be beautiful, the sun will be shining and I won’t be packed under layers and layers of sweaters (although sweater weather is my favorite season).

I’m making more of an effort recently to work out now that I don’t have access to a gym. I have to create my own space to get motivated or just head out the door for a quick run. With that in mind, I need boss energy to keep me going, and so today, for Asian Beat, I present to you a boss: Haley Kiyoko.

This American singer, songwriter and actress debuted in 2015 and has over 300 million global streams, according to her Spotify biography. She is also a huge LGBTQ advocate, appearing in Taylor Swift’s “You Need to Calm Down” music video celebrating the LGBTQ community.

Kiyoko had expressed how proud she was to be part of the video in an Instagram post last year.

“We have so much to be proud of, but still have so much further to go. Thank you Taylor for using your platform to bring awareness to these issues,” she wrote.

She is pushing boundaries with her music and has been touted as the “Lesbian Jesus”.

One of my first introductions to her art was “What I Need” featuring the lovely Kehlani, who I wrote about as an album favorite last year. Their voices complement each other in this easy back-and-forth, banter-like, feel-good pop song. The chorus itself is a sing-along bop.

“What I need, what I need, what I need / Is for you to be sure, no no no / For you to be sure, no no no / For you to be sure, no no no.”

However, the song is much deeper and representative of Kiyoko’s advocacy, as the song highlights being sure in a relationship and not getting strung along, which I’m sure we can all relate to at one point in our lives: “When we’re all alone, girl, you wanna own it / When we’re with your fam, you don’t wanna show it / Oh, you’re tryna keep us on the low / I only want a girl who ain’t afraid to love me / Not a metaphor of what we really could be / Oh, I ain’t putting on a show.”

It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, upset, lost, frustrated, we have to go through the grieving process but once we do, we will see the beauty of now
— Haley Kiyoko

Another boundary-pushing song is “Girls Like Girls.” This one is slightly slower, but just as powerful. The music video itself is equally as powerful and shows the violence against same-sex relationships from others who are not as accepting. Kiyoko sings about how more normalized girls liking girls should be: “Girls like girls like boys do, nothing new / Isn’t this why we came? Gotta get with you / Girls like girls like boys do, nothing new.”

Kiyoko’s powerful songwriting and vocals shine in her latest album drop, “I’m Too Sensitive For This Shit” with an equally raw album cover, the title brushed on in red. One of my favorite songs that features her strength is “I Wish”: “You don’t like when I decide to speak my mind (yeah, yeah) / No, you don’t like that I do what I want, like, all the time / We butt heads ’cause you don’t pay me no attention.”

Just as Kiyoko seeks to make her community inclusive and safe, she also reached out to her fans in a post on Instagram, sharing how to adjust to life in quarantine after a discussion with her therapist.

“It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, upset, lost, frustrated, we have to go through the grieving process but once we do, we will see the beauty of now,” she wrote. “And we will triumph.”


3 Songs To Add to Your Playlist:

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Kimberly Nguyen is the associate digital editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at

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