Jamila Woods releases a Toni Morrison tribute, nearly a year to the date of her death.
Wednesday, August 5th marked the one-year anniversary of the death of literary titan Toni Morrison. On Thursday, Chicago singer Jamila Woods released “SULA (paperback),” a tribute to Morrison by the name of her second novel, published in 1973.
“Grateful for all the ways Toni Morrison’s work has helped me better understand myself,” she wrote on Instagram. The caption accompanied a brief quote from the novel: “Yes. But my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else’s. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain’t that something? A secondhand lonely.”
Woods explained the significance behind the novel in a press release.
“Sula was the first Toni Morrison novel I ever read,” she wrote. “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…returning to the story several years later, it gave me permission to reject confining ideas about my identity designed to shrink my spirit…this song is a mantra to allow myself space to experience my gender, love, intimacy, and sexuality on my own terms.”
Woods previously paid homage to over a dozen Black writers and musicians on her second album, 2019’s Legacy! Legacy! Tracks like “Zora,” “Eartha,” “Miles,” and “Muddy” paid tribute to Zora Neale Hurston, Eartha Kitt, Miles Davis, and Muddy Waters, respectively.
Stream “SULA” on major digital streaming platforms.