At 23 years-old, H.E.R. already has Grammys for I Can’t Breathe and an Oscar for Fight for You on her list of accomplishments. H.E.R. talks about the music, activism, and maybe a future in voice-overs in this Variety's Changemakers Issue. The Grammy-winning song, as much as any other, has become an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement. Fight for You was the main track for the film Judas and the Black Messiah which follows the events of Black Panther's Fred Hampton. H.E.R. says in her Variety cover, “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. That’s what music does, and that’s what storytelling does.”
H.E.R. is proud to say she's equally Filipino as she is Black. The article talks about how she is an "artist who is a member of three of the most oppressed groups of human beings in American history: African Americans, Asians and women." As an artist, she believes that as a creative there's a responsibility to use the platform to tell the truth, and to write history the way that it was and how it connects us to today. With the accessibility of social media we are able to see the world today in real time and tell our truths.
The Vallejo, Bay Area native talked about her upbringing and not always fitting. The storytelling in her songs come from parts of her life and experiences. H.E.R. shared stories of her mother's upbringing in the Philippines, and her father spoke of growing up Black in Arkansas. He also was an iron worker by day and a musician by night who brought young Gabriella Wilson along to gigs and performances. She remembers always standing out even in the diverse Bay Area. In middle school, she was too Asian for the Black kids or too Black for the Filipino kids. However during senior year, it all changed. Now, she's loud and proud of being Filipino and Black and attributes her being well-rounded to her wide perspective.
Now at 23, she's just as ambitious as she was as a kid. With G-O in EGOT already in her belt, she's aiming for an Emmy and Tony, but H.E.R. isn't placing a hard deadline. However, it may not be too far away as she's working on a Broadway score, but she is aiming for the EGOT before 30 years-old. Her main goal though is to inspire young women where they see her as an example of what is possible. “It means the world that there is another girl out there who [sees her success] and thinks, ‘I can do that too,’ H.E.R. tells Variety.
Also on the horizon is her new album, Back of My Mind which will showoff a wide range of styles we know she's capable of. As a multitalented artist and guitar protégé, she's slowly peeling off her talents and sharing it with everyone. Manager, Jeff Robinson describes H.E.R. as a genre-less artist and she wants to stay that way. She recently performed her new song Hold On with country singer, Chris Stapleton on the CMT Awards. H.E.R. crosses over genres so seamlessly while other artists can't wait to collaborate.
Besides music, she's looking into acting. We've seen H.E.R. on Netflix's Yes Day film, but she tells Variety "there is so much I want to do. People don’t really get to see my comedic and fun side, except for when I’m impersonating my aunt.” Remember her post Grammy IG post?
“But I definitely want to do a lot more voice-overs, and comedy, but also some serious roles —I’m trying to do it all, I know. Whatever it is, one thing at a time. I’m gonna get there.” Keep on doing your thing Miss H.E.R. We're rooting for you all the way!
Cover Photo Credit: Variety Twitter
H.E.R. got a big win at the 93rd Academy Awards for Fight For You in the Best Original Song category. The song Fight For You is featured in the Oscar nominated film Judas and the Black Messiah. In her acceptance speech, she teases that she's always wanted to say "thank you to the academy..." and we're with her, who wouldn't? She also thanks her collaborators one the song, Dernst Emille II and Tiara Thomas plus her parents.
She walked the carpet with her beautiful Filipna mother and they attended the ceremony together. Catch her acceptance speech below.
The film also received the award for Best Supporting Actor in which actor Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther) won. He completed the award season sweep also winning Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG Award, and Critics' Choice. In addition to having two actors nominated from the film for Best Supporting Actor, it also earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. The movie’s nomination for Best Picture made history for featuring an all-Black producing team.
Just this last March, H.E.R. won 2 more Grammy Awards and now she can add Oscar winning artist to her accolades. When she was nominated for the Oscar, H.E.R. was nothing but grateful. According to ABC News, H.E.R. says, “I’m feeling crazy man..."
“This just doesn’t happen. It’s just a whole different world I’m stepping into. It’s just a crazy, crazy part of my journey. I never would have imagined this would even happen. I’m super, super grateful. That’s the foundation of how I feel. It’s just gratitude.”
ABS-CBN and TFC Reporter Yong Chavez had a quick chat with H.E.R. after the win in the virtual press area. She H.E.R. speak Tagalog in a little banter. She's on one of the biggest stage representing her roots and not afraid to show it!
Cover Photo Credit: H.E.R. Music Facebook
Isabel Sandoval starred, directed and wrote the film which explores the Filipino immigrant story. The story follows an "undocumented trans Filipina caretaker living in New York City who struggles financially to support her mom back home. She also pays for an American man to marry her for a green card".
The film made history as the first film directed and starred by an openly trans woman of color when it premiered at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival. You can find it currently on Netflix and catch the 36th annual Spirit Awards air live on April 22 at 10:00 pm ET/7:00 p.m. PT exclusively on IFC and AMC+.
Gold House, a premier nonprofit collective recognizes Yellow Rose in its 2021 Gold List. Yellow Rose earns two honorable mentions under the Best Picture and Best Actress categories. The lead actress, Eva Noblezada was among other talented actress considered for Best Actress but ultimately went to Yeri Han (Minari) and Leah Lewis (The Half Of It).
The Gold List honors the most outstanding Asian and Pacific Islander (API) achievements in the film industry. The collective dedicated to enabling more authentic multicultural representation and societal equity.
Variety also mentions the song, Square Peg from the film as a contender for the Oscars Best Original Song. Although it's part of the unranked contenders, it is being talked about in the same ranks as other mainstream songs in film.
The film follows a Filipina teen who must decide whether to stay with her family or leave her small Texas town to become a country music singer. Yellow Rose is now available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Fandango, Google Play and Play Station. Get the Official Yellow Rose Soundtrack Available here.
Cover Photo Credit: Lingua Franca Film Facebook