Four-time Grammy Award winning artist H.E.R. joined Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show on Monday (April 12) to talk all things Judas and the Black Messiah, beating Beyonce, Billie Eilish and Post Malone for Song of the Year at this year’s Grammy Awards and her Apollo Theatre debut at age 9. The “Damage” singer also performed her Oscar-nominated song from Judas and the Black Messiah, “Fight For You.”
In her interview with Fallon, the R&B crooner and instrumentalist extraordinaire shared her impressive childhood accomplishments, from penning her first song at age 7 to learning the guitar by ear from her father. Fallon then surprised viewers with a clip of a 9-year-old H.E.R. performing at the Apollo Theatre for the first time. In the video, H.E.R. belted out Aretha Franklin’s “Freeway of Love” while dressed in a gray skirt and matching vest.
After chatting with Fallon, the R&B crooner took the stage to perform “Fight For You,” beginning solo on the drums, then effortlessly gliding down an alleyway, arriving to her full band. She told the late-night host that when the creators of Judas and the Black Messiah approached her to write the film’s theme song, she thought she could “create a masterpiece” for the film, which highlights the life of former leader of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, chairman Fred Hampton.
“[Fred Hampton] was not just fighting for the Black Panthers. He wasn’t just fighting for the Black community. He was fighting for social justice and equality all across the board,” H.E.R. said. “When people hear the song, the idea was for them to be hopeful.”
Watch H.E.R.’s interview and performance below.