Jamila Woods Releases Toni Morrison-Inspired New Song “Sula (paperback)” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020  

Jamila Woods Releases Toni Morrison-Inspired New Song “Sula (paperback)”

Yesterday Was the One Year Anniversary of the Author’s Death

Aug 06, 2020
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Jamila Woods hasn’t made any music since LEGACY! LEGACY!, her acclaimed 2019 sophomore album that honors artists of color with titles such as “BALDWIN,” “BASQUIAT,” and “ZORA.” Today, Woods continues on with this theme but with a slight deviation. Her new track “SULA (paperback),” is also the name of the title and lead character from Toni Morrison’s 1973 novel. Listen to the track below. 

Sula, to give you the brief overview, depicts two young girls, Nel Wright and Sula Peace growing up in Medallion, Ohio. This (semi) innocence is probably why Woods decided to go with a slow and sweet track with the glossy reverb guitar and Woods’ clean vocals and harmonies. And of course, some killer lines: “Freedom and triumph, they weren’t meant for me/Girls of my color, find somethin’ else to be.” 

Yesterday was also the one-year anniversary of the revolutionary writer’s death. In a press release, Woods explains why she wrote the song.  

“It’s the first Toni Morisson novel I ever read and it inspired the first chapbook of poems I ever wrote,” says Woods. “The novel shows the evolution of a friendship between two Black women and how they choose to navigate society's strict gender roles and rules of respectability.On Sula, Toni Morrison wrote, ‘living totally by the law and surrendering totally to it without questioning anything sometimes makes it impossible to know anything about yourself.’ Returning to the story several years later, it gave me permission to reject confining ideas about my identity designed to shrink my spirit. It reminded me to embrace my tenderness, my sensitivities, my ways of being in my body. This song is a mantra to allow myself space to experience my gender, love, intimacy, and sexuality on my own terms.”

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