Black Filipina American R&B artist H.E.R. won the Video For Good award for her song “I Can’t Breathe” at the MTV Video Music Awards 2020 on Sunday, August 30.
“I Can’t Breathe” is a song highlighting the recent police killings of unarmed Black individuals, such as Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and the ongoing protests around the world.
“Praying for change ‘cause the pain makes you tender,” the lyrics read, adding, “All of the names you refuse to remember/Was somebody’s brother, friend/Or a son to a mother that’s crying, saying/I can’t breathe, you’re taking my life from me.”
In a recorded message shown on Sunday, H.E.R. said winning a VMA is a “dream come true for me.”
“I’m so proud to be a part of this category. All the other nominees were super dope. I’m super proud of everybody speaking out on social injustice,” she added, thanking the crew behind the video.
— Video Music Awards (@vmas) August 31, 2020
Other nominees in the category included Billie Eilish (“All of the Good Women Go to Hell”), Lil Child (“The Larger Image”), Demi Lovato (“I Love Me”), Anderson Paak (“Lockdown”) and Taylor Swift (“The Man”).
H.E.R.’s song “Slide,” featuring YG, was also nominated in the Best R&B video category alongside Alicia Keys’ “Underdog,” Chloe x Halle’s “It,” and Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You,” but lost to The Weeknd’s ”Blinding Lights.”
H.E.R., whose real name is Gabriella Wilson, was born in Vallejo, California to a Filipina mother and an African American father.
She rose to fame in 2009 after participating in Radio Disney’s “Next Big Thing.” At the age of 14, she signed to RCA Records and released the single “Something to Prove” under her real name in 2014.
In 2016, she debuted under the H.E.R. persona with her debut EP “H.E.R. Volume 1.”
She then released other EPs “H.E.R. Volume 2” and “The B Sides” in 2017 before releasing her first compilation album “H.E.R.” which consisted of tracks from the singer’s first two EPs plus six additional songs.
In 2018, she released “I Used to Know Her: The Prelude” and “I Used to Know Her: Part 2.”
H.E.R. received five nominations at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in 2019, winning Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Album.