Musician H.E.R. wins her first Oscar while paying homage to Prince

H.E.R. in a hooded purple outfit and round purple glasses
H.E.R. won the original song Oscar for “Fight for You,” from “Judas and the Black Messiah.”
(Chris Pizzello / Pool photo)

“Thank you to the academy,” singer-songwriter H.E.R. said Sunday night after winning the original song Oscar. “I’ve always wanted to say that.”

And with that the 23-year-old was halfway to EGOT status, adding the Academy Award for “Fight for You,” from “Judas and the Black Messiah,” to her 2021 song of the year Grammy for the protest track “I Can’t Breathe.” (An EGOT refers to someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.)

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April 25, 2021


H.E.R., born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson, acknowledged her collaborators, D’Mile and Tiara Thomas too. “The song wouldn’t be what it was without them,” she said.

“Of course, I have to thank God for giving us these gifts,” she added, “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.”

Clad in a purple beaded pantsuit, complete with cape and hood and round glasses with purple frames, H.E.R. also gave a visual homage to another artist: Prince, who died five years ago last Wednesday and would no doubt appreciate a name that stands for Having Everything Revealed.

“I’m, yeah, I’m just, I have no words,” H.E.R. said. “I’m just so, so, so happy and grateful. And, yeah, knowledge is power. Music is power. And as long as I’m standing, I’m always gonna fight for us, I’m always gonna fight for my people and fight for what’s right.

“And I think that’s what music does and that’s what storytelling does.”