Updated: Mar 3, 2021
"SULA (paperback)": Jamila Woods
Production: Jamila Woods, Kamaria Woods
As a lover of both music and literature, the recent release of ‘SULA (paperback)’ by Jamila Woods excited me immensely. The song is inspired by Toni Morrison’s hauntingly beautiful novel ‘Sula’, which follows the friendship and divergence of two black women, Sula and Nel, between 1919 and 1965. In an interview, Woods explains the personal significance of this book to her. She reveals, ‘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’.
The track certainly reflects this sense of tenderness and determination to reject confinement through its gorgeously spacious guitar strumming and self-assured lyrics such as ‘soft as my skin is, my power’s discreet’. This evocation of softness in the lyrics is mirrored by Woods’ inimitably alluring tone of voice, which, together with the melody, lyrics and instrumentation facilitate an arresting conversation between literature and music.