Jamila Woods makes me feel loved. She's one of those artists – a poet, a singer, a songwriter – who is capable of writing music that encases you like the sort of short-haired, thick blanket you don't often find anywhere but the homes of women in their sixties and beyond. She specifically speaks to black womanhood in a way that writes our experiences into history. She sings love letters to Chicago, the city that raised her and which she now gives back to as part of her work for youth charity Young Chicago Authors.
But that all makes her sound deathly serious. Woods also understands the importance of caring for yourself, of laughter, of feeling out the contours of your joy. And she's got that carefree happiness on full display in her new video for "LSD" (above), featuring Chance the Rapper. You may have first heard the song last year, before she released album HEAVN on Soundcloud (which is now up on streaming services again today since Jagjaguwar are due to physically re-release it on 6 October). Its video, based on a treatment submitted by high school student Ashley Huicochea and made with Chicago's VAM Studio, sees Woods part-submerged in both a lake and backyard paddling pool, as she sings her ode to the city. Chance the Rapper shows up to the cookout too, meat tongs in hand while working the grill. Behind the scenes, a group of aspiring young filmmakers including Huicochea shadowed the camera crew, turning the entire shoot into a bigger moment for the community. Like I said: it's not all heavy stuff.
Watch: Noisey Next with Jamila Woods
With videos like this, Woods shows that there isn't just one story to tell about Chicago, or about being black in Chicago or being a black woman in Chicago. She has said that music "became a way to stop hiding, to actually be the most honest with myself through writing. It helps me check in with myself", and that honesty sparkles throughout her work. It's part of what she does to imbue her music, and videos like this, with a binding warmth. It's how she manages to spread love.
Catch Jamila on tour later this year, including a headline set in London:
8 October - Austin: Austic City Limits Festival
14 October - Afropunk Atlanta
15 October - Austin: Austin City Limits
27 October - Jazz Cafe: London, UK
29 October - Ideal Bar: Copenhagen, DK *
31 October - Melkweg: Amsterdam, NL *
1 November - Pitchfork Avant-Garde: Paris, FR
2 November - Vooruit Balzaal: Gent, BE *
3 November - Gebäude 9: Cologne, DE *
4 November - Crossing Borders Festival: The Hague, NL
* = dates supporting Jordan Rakei
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