H.E.R. Talks 'Judas And The Black Messiah' Soundtrack
By Lauren Crawford
February 12, 2021
Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album has arrived!
On Friday (February 12), the highly-anitcipated soundtrack dropped alongside its corresponding film, which tells the story of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s assassination by the FBI.
The 22-track musical companion— created to inform and inspire today’s generation — is executive produced by Hit-Boy and also features G Herbo, Lil Durk, Polo G, H.E.R., Nas, SiR, A$AP Rocky, Dom Kennedy, Jay-Z, and the late Nipsey Hussle, amongst others.
Anticipation for the album heightened in recent weeks following the release of the Golden Globe Awards and Critics Choice Awards nominated song, “Fight For You,” by two-time Grammy Award winner H.E.R.
In an exclusive interview with iHeartRadio, the "Damage" singer spoke about the importance of the Judas and the Black Messiah film, how her song "Fight For You" further tells Fred Hampton's story, and more.
Check out our full Q&A with H.E.R. below!
1. What does the Judas and the Black Messiah film mean to you?
It's a really powerful part of our history that a lot of people don't even know about. Judas and the Black Messiah is going to educate a lot of people.
2. What did it feel like to be asked to be a part of the soundtrack for such an important film?
I was honestly honored when I got the call. I literally told the whole team that I felt like I could make a masterpiece for the film. The reaction has been really, really amazing. I'm just happy to be a part of this story.
3. Did you feel pressure when creating "Fight For You" given the magnitude of the importance of Judas & The Black Messiah to the Black community?
I definitely put a high standard on myself and what I wanted to achieve. I listened to a lot of music from that time just to really get in the vibe. I wanted to make something great because this is a powerful movie and a powerful story. I knew I had to make something that represented the movie well.
4. Would you say you were well versed in the history of the Black Panther Party before working on the soundtrack? And did you draw upon that knowledge while creating the track?
I feel like there was a big chunk of history, of Black history that I didn't even know about and that they don't teach in schools, which is super unfortunate. So I learned so much, even musically I learned so much creating this track. It definitely gave me some knowledge.
5. Being that many soundtracks further push the narrative of a film, how do you feel "Fight For You" further tells the story of Fred Hampton?
Well, Fred Hampton wasn't just one of the leaders of the Black Panther Party, he was fighting a lot of different battles. There were so many different storylines within the movie, so when I created "Fight for You" I thought because of all the different storylines and all the battles that Fred Hampton was fighting, I wanted to really make a song that represented all of those battles. There was the love story and then the battle of the man that was working with the FBI, and the fight that Black people have gone through still are going through. This song had to represent that.
6. While "Fight For You" was made for Judas & The Black Messiah, it's a timeless record due to the fact that Black people's fight for social and racial justice has been ongoing for centuries. When creating the track, were you thinking about the current state of America at all?
The song brings the two generations together. It brings together the late '60s, early '70s, with now. It brings the two together because we are still in a fight, and we are continuing to fight. The lyrics are literally saying, 'as long as I'm standing.' So as long as we stand for each other, and we constantly fight then maybe we will see change. 2020 was a big eye-opening year, but I absolutely have been thinking about the protests that have been happening in 2020 and the protests that were happening then, and how it wasn't that long ago, and we're, we're still in this fight.
7. The 1960s saw the rise of funk and soul music and "Fight For You" definitely has that funk-soul sound. How was it experimenting with an older sound for you?
It didn't feel like experimenting because I love that era of music. I always say I wish I was born in that time — it's my favorite. It's also something that I listen to every single day so it almost felt like I was in my element and I was doing the music that I really, really truly love. I'm a soul baby and, and funk and soul, and that whole time period is a huge part of me.
8. "Fight For You" was recently nominated for a Golden Globe. What was your reaction to that news?
Everybody was texting me, like, "Congratulations, congratulations." And I was trying to figure out why everybody was congratulating me. Then I went on Twitter and I saw the Golden Globe nomination and I was blown away. I couldn't believe it. I never imagined that I would be Golden Globe-nominated, so it's a big honor for me.
9. What do you hope people get out of the film and the soundtrack?
Number one is knowledge and wisdom on Black history. I hope that people will continue the work of Fred Hampton and continue to do exactly what he did, and that's fighting for us, fighting for social justice and, and making sure that we are truly free, and that we're not living in fear anymore. I just want the fight to continue and for change to really happen.
Judas and the Black Messiah, starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, is out today in select theaters and streaming on HBO Max.
This Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.