‘Message to all the young Black and Filipino girls’: H.E.R. wins Oscar for Best Original Song

Four-time Grammy Award-winning artist H.E.R. is now an Oscar winner when she took home an award for Best Song on Sunday, April 25. | Photo courtesy of H.E.R./Twitter

R&B singer-songwriter H.E.R. has earned her first Oscar for her song “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

The 23-year-old artist, who is Black and Filipina, took home the Oscar for Best Original Song at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday, April 25.

The song beat out fellow nominees “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga;” “lo Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se);” “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami;” and “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

During her acceptance speech, H.E.R. acknowledged her collaborators, D’Mile and Tiara Thomas, saying the song “wouldn’t be what it was without them.”

“Of course, I have to thank God for giving us these gifts, and my parents, my beautiful mother who’s here with me today and my father at home. All those days of listening to Sly and the Family Stone and Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye really paid off, so thank you, Dad,” she said.

H.E.R. stressed that there is power in music, vowing she’s always going to fight for her people and for what’s right.

“Musicians, filmmakers, I believe we have an opportunity and responsibility, to me, to tell the truth and to write history the way that it was and how it connects us to today and what we see going on in the world today,” she said.

“Knowledge is power, music is power and as long as I’m standing I’m always going to fight for us, I’m always going to fight for my people and fight for what’s right and I think that’s what music does and that’s what storytelling does,” she added.

Backstage, H.E.R. expressed hope that her win could send a message to Black and Filipino girls.

“Me just being up there is a message. It’s a message to all the young Black and Filipino girls…that you can be up here,” she said.

“What you say matters. What you sing matters, what you play, what you write. It matters. It’s a reflection of who we are,” she added.

H.E.R. joins Fil-Am composer Robert Lopez, who won for Frozen’s “Let It Go” and Coco’s “Remember Me,” as an Oscar winner in the best song category.

H.E.R., whose real name is Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, was born in Vallejo, California to a Filipina mother and an African American father.

In March this year, she took home “Song of the Year” at the 2021 Grammy Awards for her single “I Can’t Breathe.”

With four Grammy Awards and an Oscar under her belt, H.E.R. is confident she can achieve EGOT status in the future.

“There’s absolutely going to be an EGOT in my future, hopefully. I’m super compassionate about acting as well. You may see me up here as an actress,” she said.

The 93rd Oscars were largely held at the Union Station in Los Angeles — with some parts filmed at the awards ceremony’s longtime home, the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood — and aired live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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