Director Shaka King tasked singer and songwriter H.E.R to bring home the end of “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Her challenge was what tone to go for.
The original song contender “Fight For You” is a hopeful one. As a fan of Fred Hampton’s story, the songwriter knew she could make a masterpiece drawing on artists such as Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone and Sly and the Family Stone. “That whole era, the late ’60s and ’70s is my favorite, and my favorite era of music is soul music.”
When it came to the instruments, H.E.R says she picked up a bass and added aggressive drums as a start.
With that in mind, the song started to come together. As she was writing it, she notes, “There’s not much that separates that time and that story from what’s going on right now with the Black Lives Matter movement in the Black community.”
H.E.R kept the fight in the back of her mind throughout the process; noting everybody was fighting for something whether it was freedom or personal gain. “I’m always fighting for you and then thinking about the verses.” As she watched the film in the studio, it helped tapped into the feeling of that fight and injustice.
The end result, “Fight for You,” has an up-tempo tone. She hopes the song brings generations together, uplifts and empowers people as they listen to the song, whether it’s when the movie comes to an end or whether they listen to the song outside of the film. “I wanted to create a universal message that represented what is still happening today and how that connects two generations. We’re passing the torch and continuing on Hampton’s work.”