“I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R.

H.E.R. wrote “I Can’t Breathe” in direct relation to the protests which have swept across America in the wake of the killing of a man named George Floyd. Floyd, a Blackman, was basically murdered by White police in broad daylight. And shortly before dying he was heard uttering the words “I can’t breathe”.  So that expression has become somewhat of a de facto slogan for the aforementioned movement.

Moreover, H.E.R. is apparently using it as a metaphor criticizing the entire system of American racism. That is to say that within the context of the song, being unable to breathe is not only a reference to Floyd. But more macrocosmically it is meant to be symbolic of what African-Americans experience under systemic racism. In other words, they are stifled and limited by it.  So apparently the songstress is calling for certain changes to counteract these continued injustices. First is that Black people learn to love themselves more. And secondly she also wants others to be more sympathetic to what they go through.

Recording Process

H.E.R. recorded this song in a closed venue in Brooklyn, with only she and her band being present, in observance of COVID-related social-distancing protocols.

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