Jamila Woods’ most recent release LEGACY! LEGACY! was a concept album, of sorts, with each track highlighting an artist of color who inspired the Chicago R&B artist. Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Frida Kahlo, and many more were the subjects of songs from the album. Today, Woods has released a new song written under that same premise, this time inspired by the late Toni Morrison. “SULA (Paperback)” is based on Morrison’s 1974 novel of the same name, and honors both the author and her literary characters. Listen to it below.
In a press release, Jamila Woods stated:
Sula was 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.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork