Jamila Woods

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Jamila Woods
Born (1989-10-06) October 6, 1989 (age 29)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
  • Singer-songwriter
  • rapper
  • poet
Associated acts

Jamila Woods (born October 6, 1989) is a Chicago-based American singer, songwriter and poet. Woods is a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep and Brown University, where she received a BA in Africana Studies and Theater & Performance Studies.[1][2][3] Her work focuses on themes of Black ancestry, Black feminism, and Black identity, with recurring emphases on self-love and the City of Chicago.[4]



In 2012, Jamila Woods published her first chapbook, entitled The Truth About Dolls. Her work can be found in the anthologies The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015), Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (2014), and The UnCommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning & Living (2013). Her influences include Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, and Frida Kahlo.[4]

Woods was also one of three editors of The Breakbeat Poets Volume II, entitled Black Girl Magic. The 2018 publication is an anthology of poetry by contemporary Black women, “exploring themes of beauty, unapologetic blackness, intersectionality, self-definition, and more.”[5]

Community organizing[edit]

Woods is the Associate Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors (YCA), an organization in the Chicago dedicated to uplifting youth voices through arts education and mentorship. Through YCA, Woods helps to organize Louder Than a Bomb, the world's largest youth poetry slam festival. She also facilitates poetry workshops and creates curriculum for Chicago Public Schools.[4]


She is widely known for her collaborative works with Chance the Rapper on the hit song "Sunday Candy" from the album Surf as well as "Blessings" from Coloring Book. Woods is also featured on the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song "White Privilege II".[6] In January 2016, Woods signed to Chicago's independent hip-hop label, Closed Sessions.[7]

Jamila released her debut album HEAVN on her SoundCloud page on July 11, 2016 to critical acclaim. The album features collaborations with Chance the Rapper, Noname, Saba, Lorine Chia, Kweku Collins and Donnie Trumpet.

Heavn was ranked as the 36th best album of 2016 by Pitchfork.


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details
Legacy! Legacy!
  • Released: May 10, 2019[8]
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download, streaming


  1. ^ "Jamila Woods releases powerful single, 'blk girl soldier'". suntimes.com. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Meet Hollis Wong-Wear And Jamila Woods, The Women Of Color Behind Macklemore's 'White Privilege II'". 25 January 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2017 – via Huff Post.
  3. ^ Reader, Chicago (10 December 2015). "Jamila Woods". chicagoreader.com. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Woods, Jamila. "Home". Jamila Woods Writes. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  5. ^ Lewis, Eva. ""Black Girl Magic" Editor Jamila Woods and Poet Safia Elhillo on Putting a Spotlight on Black Women". Teen Vogue. Teen Vogue. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  6. ^ Forrest, Wickman (January 22, 2016). "Macklemore's "White Privilege II" Isn't a Great Song, But as a Think Piece It's Not Terrible". Slate. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Jamila Woods Signs Label Deal With Chicago's Closed Sessions, Releases First Single (Exclusive) | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  8. ^ Blais-Billie, Braudie (February 5, 2019). "Jamila Woods Announces New Album LEGACY! LEGACY!, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 6, 2019.

External links[edit]