Watch Jamila Woods Perform “Sula (Paperback)” Last Night on “Stephen Colbert” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Watch Jamila Woods Perform “Sula (Paperback)” Last Night on “Stephen Colbert”

“On a difficult night, we thought we would end with a beautiful song.” – Stephen Colbert

Jan 07, 2021 Jamila Woods Bookmark and Share

Last year Jamila Woods shared a new song “Sula (Paperback),” which was inspired by Toni Morrison and was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Last night she performed the song on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It was a goregous string-backed performance and Colbert introduced it by saying, “On a difficult night, we thought we would end with a beautiful song,” referring to the events yesterday where Trump-supporting rioters/domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol. Watch the performance below.

Last year Woods also shared a new version of the song, “Sula (Hardback),” via a video for the track. Whereas the orginal was delicate and stripped back, the new version was a more uptempo and pop-friendly version. Sula is also the name of the title and lead character from Toni Morrison’s 1973 novel. Woods’ last album was LEGACY! LEGACY!, her acclaimed 2019 sophomore album that honored artists of color with titles such as “BALDWIN,” “BASQUIAT,” and “ZORA.”

In a previous press release last year, 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. 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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