STORY: “I think a lot of women, especially young Black women, young Filipino women, don't really think that these kinds of things are possible. And I barely thought, you know, it was possible. So it's insane to know that, I have done it. And I think the thing about it is it's inspiring so many women to, you know, want to play instruments and want to pick up a guitar and know that they can."
Meet American singer-songwriter H.E.R., whose song "I Can't Breathe" became an anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement.
At the age of 25 she already has five Grammy Awards, a best song Oscar, and is about to make her debut on the big screen.
"Somebody told me like, oh, 'I can't breathe', I marched to that song or, you know, my grandfather started thinking differently because he heard that song and I'm like, wow. It's crazy how music can do that, but it's also crazy that I can do that. And I, I feel really grateful. I feel like I'm just a vessel, you know, it's not meant for me to necessarily understand, but just to continue to to do what I do."
She was born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson to an African American father and a Filipina mother.
"I was like five years old, six years old when I started playing piano and then I picked up the guitar not long after when I was seven, and he taught me how to play the blues. But yeah, that was the beginning. And I started performing when I was like six years old. My first time being on stage was with my dad and his band. And yeah, I remember my mom at one point kept booking gigs for me. There were festivals and things around the neighborhood and I had a planner and she was like my momager, you know."
Now she’s fresh from starring as Belle in a tribute to "Beauty and the Beast" for Disney, and will soon hit the screen in upcoming musical "The Color Purple.”
It's based on the Alice Walker novel that made stars of Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey when it was last filmed by Steven Spielberg in the 1980s.
"'The Color Purple' was insane, and I'm so grateful that that was technically my first debut, you know, officially, working with Oprah and Spielberg is involved, like, it's insane. And of course, like Blitz (Bazawule), who's a creative and a musician and a writer and he's so many things. So it was really cool to collaborate with somebody who understands all the worlds. And we just had so much fun and the cast is amazing. You know, Fantasia, Halle Bailey, Taraji P Henson, the list goes on. It was really special for me. And I'm excited for people to see me in that way, you know. And I'm not wearing glasses in 'The Color purple' so there's that!"
She's unveiled her latest guitar in collaboration with guitar-maker Fender.
“It's called the Blue Marlin because I grew up going fishing with my dad a lot. And I just think it's one of the coolest looking fish."
"It's easy to get lost in all of those things. It's easy to get lost or get comfortable, and I have Grammys, I have Oscars, and I still have so much to show the world and I still have so much to prove to myself. I'm still in the beginning of my career, which is insane to think about. But yeah, I think yeah, I'm just, I'm getting back to myself and I'm really looking forward to my next project because it'll be a new layer and a new level."