R&B singer-songwriter H.E.R. took home “Song of the Year” at the 2021 Grammy Awards on Sunday night, March 14 for her single “I Can’t Breathe.”
The 23-year-old artist released the song last summer in response to the killing of George Floyd and the protests for racial justice.
“We wrote this song over FaceTime,” H.E.R. said in her acceptance speech, joined by co-writer Tiara Thomas. “I didn’t imagine that my fear and that my pain would turn into impact, and it would possibly turn into change. And I think that’s what this is about. And that’s why I write music.”
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She added, “I want to thank my mom, I recorded this song myself in my bedroom at my mom’s house. And I want to thank my dad. He cried. He was in tears when I wrote this song and I played it for him. He was the first person I played it for.”
H.E.R., whose real name is Gabriella Wilson, was born in Vallejo, California to a Filipina mother and an African American father.
Robert Glasper’s “Better Than I Imagined” won Best R&B song on Sunday, which H.E.R. is featured in alongside Meshell Ndegeocello.
With two wins on Sunday, H.E.R. now has four Grammys under her belt. She won two Grammys in 2019, for R&B album and R&B performance.
“I’m so speechless right now, I can’t believe this,” she said in her speech. “Remember, we are the change that we wish to see. That fight that we had in us in the summer of 2020, keep that same energy.”
On Monday, March 15, H.E.R., along with collaborators Tiara Thomas and D’Mile, was nominated for best original song at the 2021 Academy Awards for “Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah.”