For this third listen, I will be analyzing and talking about how texts and media help further the understanding and depth of H.E.R’s “I Can’t Breathe”. The texts and media I will be using are the music video of the song itself, a live performance, and a cover by  youtube user antonettemusic.

The music video of the song incorporates the heavy hitting topics the song itself shares with its listeners. The video starts off with the marches for Black Lives Matter that happened last summer/semester in 2020. The first video we can see is an arial view of the marches, followed by a video of police retaliating with excessive force. From multiple angles the audience can see and read the signs the protesters were carrying, all giving messages like: “Live In Power”, “Legalize Melanin”, and a lot of George Floyd posters or drawings that the protesters painted or made themselves. By the time the first chorus comes we can see how the music video shows the different parts of the world and how they incorporated themselves in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the first one being Belgium in which they spray painted “I Can’t Breathe” on the side of a train.At the middle of the video, H.E.R. starts with her poetic reading and as she speaks we see George Floyd’s name from and center surrounded by darkness, because his tragic death is the inspiration for the name and making of the song, then as she continues talking the names of every black life lost in the last decade surrounds George Floyd’s name, in show of how many lives have been lost to this tragic social issue. The music video ends with “Black Lives Matter”, the reason for the song, the social issue talked about in the song, and the message everyone should keep with them after hearing the song and listening to the video.

The live performance of the song is even more emotional than the studio recorded version. The singer takes her time to feel her lyrics and gives a goosebump ridden emotional performance with all black back up singers and musicians helping her. She focuses on hitting the right notes but making them sound more deeply rooted into her throat, giving the impression that she’s feeling pain while she sings them. Halfway through the song she starts speaking her poem and she looks directly into the camera, as if looking at the world hoping they will listen. She uses her hands to emphasize her point while she speaks, visibly you can see she’s feeling what she’s saying and that she fully believes this all has to end. The live performance just adds a lot more emotion and character from H.E.R.

The cover by antonettemusic on youtube is a perfect example of how the original impact and message of the song was reached by so many. Antonette gives a chilling performance, alongside chilling images and videos that apply to the certain lyrical parts she’s singing about. She does an amazing job at looking at the camera every so often to look at whoever is watching, she uses soulful tones to make the song feel impactful and personal, and incorporates videos and images that further prove the point that she’s singing about. She also says “black lives matter” at the end of her performance to signify she’s ended it, and she shows more videos and emphasizes it’s important to educate yourself on the current situation. She also include links to other outside sources that will help the audience learn more about the issue, and even provides movies on Netflix that will speak upon the topics sung about on the song.

All three texts/media helped me personally further feel and connect to the song and what the song’s message is, black lives matter. By visibly seeing these women sing the song, and seeing the picture and video examples given through the performances it’s eye opening to further feel connected to the song, given that it’s such a literal song.