After bringing home the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for “I Can’t Breathe,” 23-year-old artist H.E.R. accepted the Oscar for Best Original Song, “Fight for You,” at the 93rd Academy Awards.
Her collaboration with Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas, “Fight for You” from the film Judas and the Black Messiah won over songs from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (“Hear My Voice”), Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (“Husavik”), The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se) (“Io Sì (Seen)”), and One Night in Miami (“Speak Now”).
In a pre-show broadcast, H.E.R. performed the anthemic track in a dazzling gold jumpsuit, in a reminiscent performance of the film’s set era of the late 1960s. The performance saw the musician begin by singing from behind the drum kit before moving to the front of the rooftop stage she was filming on. Embodying the film, which follows the story of Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton, who was betrayed by an FBI informant that infiltrated the group, the soulful performance reinforced the win announced later in the evening.
“I am so, so, so grateful, not only to win but to be a part of such an important, important story,” she said from the stage at Union Station in Los Angeles on Sunday night. “Thank you to the Academy—I’ve always wanted to say that,” she continues. H.E.R. also thanked God for her gifts, her mother for being there with her, and her father for playing her funk and soul from the late ‘60s.
“All those days of listening to Sly and the Family Stone, and Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye really paid off,” she shared. Similar to her Grammy’s acceptance speech, she highlighted the critical role artists play in chronicling their truth as a part of history, speaking to the issues that divide us during pivotal moments.
“Musicians and filmmakers, I believe we have the opportunity to tell the truth, and write the history the way it was,” said H.E.R. “Knowledge is power, music is power and as long as I’m standing, I’m going to fight for us.”
The film claimed another trophy when Daniel Kaluuya won Best Actor in a Supporting Role. On stage, he echoed H.E.R., reminding the audience and industry how much work is still left to do in regards to racial equality.
Photo by ABC