Jamila Woods

By Mari General

27 Nov, 2019

Jamila Woods is an angelic performer and songwriter from the Southside of Chicago. Her concert showcased the works of her latest solo album LEGACY! LEGACY!. The album is a tribute to past artists who have shaped and influenced Jamila Woods.

The concert was a deconstruction of the album. Jamila Woods took us on a journey through her creative process and allowed us to understand the magnitude of Black struggle and creativity. 

The Geraghetry was her venue of choice and it fit so well. The circular stage was in the middle of the concert hall and the seats surrounded it. Visuals were projected on panels above the stage. In the center stood Jamila Woods, in an all white ensemble with silvery puffy sleeves and golden head jewelry. Not only did she sound like an angel, but she looked like one too. Midway through her set, she transformed into another white outfit with a cream top and long light blue veil. 

Her songs were all inspired by artists and creatives from Muddy Waters to Frida Kahlo. Not only did she tell us what the songs were about, we saw the original visuals that inspired them. For Eartha, she played an interview clip with Eartha Kitt on compromise that inspired the song. The interviewer asks Kitt about compromise in relationships and she simply responds, “Compromise for what?” Her song, “Eartha,” is a lover’s commitment to not compromise because there is nothing to compromise. Jamila Wood’s soulful voice took us on a journey on the search for someone who is in love with themselves and wants to share that love with others, without compromise.

Jamila Woods let us into her creative process, and it was so beautiful. The visuals she showcased were of human body parts, water, fire, and other abstract images. The visuals emphasized the meanings of her songs.

The concert was also a showcase of many other talented artists such as violinist Jazzmine Fire and spoken word artist Danez Smith. Jamila Woods really made a concert into a jam session, into performing art. Her art was revolutionary and spoke to the struggles of being Black, of being women. Jamila Woods’ art is so moving and transformational — I cannot wait to see what she will continue to create.