Civil rights, activism, struggles, betrayal, and murder were the themes of the 2021 biographical movie ‘Judas and the Black Messiah.’ However, this article is about its soundtrack, specifically a song titled “Fight For You” performed by H.E.R.
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ film soundtrack contains some amazing works by artists such as Black Thought, Nipsey Hussle, Jay-Z, Polo G, and Rakim. However, it was the American singer H.E.R. who took an Oscar award for ‘Best Original Song’ for her contribution “Fight For You.” It is a fight song–a continuing fight for freedom–perfectly in sync with the theme of the movie.
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ narrates the story of the betrayal of Fred Hampton (played by Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in late-1960s Chicago, at the hands of William O’Neal (played by Lakeith Stanfield), an FBI informant. Fred Hampton is a revolutionary socialist known for his work towards establishing the ‘Rainbow Coalition‘ in1969.
Watch “Fight For You” Music Video by H.E.R.
“Fight For You” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
The first verse highlights all the forms of discrimination an African American in America endures. She brings in smoke to reference the riots on the streets. We did see massive riots and movements following the 2020 murder of George Floyd. She sings about the constant looks of hate they endure. H.E.R. does not hesitate to say that all of this is just a ‘plan’ and this plan is in motion very well. Who’s plan is it?
The lyric “their guns don’t play fair” is a reference to all the police brutality against African Americans in the United States. It is also a reference to the murder of Fred Hampton, who was shot by a tactical unit of the Chicago Police Department and the FBI. The house Fred Hampton was in was raided and guns sprayed bullets all over the apartment killing Fred Hampton and seriously wounding several others. The jury concluded that Fred’s death was ‘justifiable homicide.’
The saddest part is how everyone seems to pay their respects at the end of their well-executed plans. Even the parties responsible dress in black and send out their condolences when the blood has been washed away from their hands.
In these lyrics, H.E.R. cries out for a truer form of freedom for her brothers of color. ‘Freedom’ does not mean a mere piece of paper to be framed and hung on a wall. Freedom needs to be an action, a practice, and normality. When will everyone be free from oppression, judgment, hate, and discrimination? The answer is blowing in the wind!
In the chorus of the song, H.E.R. sings that she is committed to the fight. She is going to do her part to see this fight through. She is going to fight for the right cause until the end.
These lines are also in contrast to the story of the ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ movie where Fred is betrayed by an FBI informant. At the time of Fred’s death in the hands of the raid officers, Fred was already drugged and was unconscious. This is the reason behind the movie being titled ‘Judas’ as Judas Iscariot was a disciple and one of the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ and betrayed Jesus Christ. It is often the people closest to us who betray us.
In the second verse of the song, H.E.R. sings about the mental shackles every Black man has to endure in today’s society. According to her, the only way out of this constructed institutionalism is through a new evolution. But who shall usher in this new evolution when all revolutionist leaders such as Fred Hampton are being murdered?
The “When they knock on your door, will you be ready for war?” lyric is applicable for both modern times as well as Fred Hampton’s story. Fred Hampton was shot dead in his own apartment by the police. His one-man security person was shot dead instantly upon entering the apartment. Fred Hampton was drugged and lay unconsciously unable to lift a finger to fight back. Will your circumstances be any different? Or will you be mentally and physically paralyzed when they come for you?
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.