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H.E.R. won song of the year for “I Can’t Breathe” at the 63rd Grammy Awards on Sunday night.
H.E.R. (real name Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson) said as she accepted the award, “I’ve never been so proud to be an artist.” Standing beside fellow songwriter Tiara Thomas, Wilson explained that she wrote the track over FaceTime when she was experiencing feelings of fear, and thanked God for giving her the gift to create change.
“We are the change we wish to see,” said Wilson. “That fight that we had in us the summer of 2020, keep that same energy.”
Backstage in the press room, Wilson spoke further on the song. “It really means the world because when we wrote the song it came from a conversation and we honestly were coming from the perspective of our own personal feelings and then it turned into being part of the movement and being part of history.” She added, “I think this song is going to be a stamp in time and people are going to think of this song when they think of George Floyd, when they think of Breonna Taylor, when they think of all these people that we’re still fighting for.”
Thompson added, “And with the timing, it’s something that’s relevant this year, it’s relevant last year, five years before that, 10 years before that, 20 years, it’s something that’s relevant until we see a lasting change, something that’s really going to move the ball forward.”
Going forward, Wilson expressed that she wants to see more representation. “I want to see all different types of people, all different shades of Black people, all different Asian communities, I want to see all different kinds of inclusivity,” said the singer. “I want people to not just say they support Black people and support the Black community but really [hire] Black people, really give Black people those opportunities.”
“We kind of have this narrative that needs to be changed on what it means to be Black and Black culture; and putting more positive images out there, and just people lifting us up and understanding when you’re contributing to the problem and not just saying ‘I’m not part of the problem,’ it’s more than that.”
She gave a shoutout to the Black music collective that she’s a part of with the Grammys and “the actions we’re taking to better represent Black people.” Wilson added, “I can honestly say, looking at the inside and people around who are in places of power and can give those opportunities, there is starting to be a shift. But we still have a lot of work to do.”
The other songs in the category were “Black Parade” by Beyonce, “The Box” by Roddy Ricch, “Cardigan” by Taylor Swift, “Circles” by Post Malone, “Don’t Start Now,” by Dua Lipa, “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish and “If the World Was Ending” by Julia Michaels.
Hosted by Trevor Noah, the ceremony was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and broadcast live on CBS and Paramount+.
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