Jamila Woods Shares Video for New Track “Sula (Hardback)” | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, October 25th, 2020  

Jamila Woods Shares Video for New Track “Sula (Hardback)”

New Version of Recent Single “Sula (Paperback)”

Sep 18, 2020
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Last month Jamila Woods shared a new song “Sula (Paperback),” which was inspired by Toni Morrison and was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Now she has shared a new version of the song, “Sula (Hardback),” via a video for the track. Whereas the orginal was delicate and stripped back, the new version is a more uptempo and pop-friendly version. Fatimah Asghar directed the video, which features Woods singing the song on a bed outdoors in various stages of dress. Watch it below.

Sula is also the name of the title and lead character from Toni Morrison’s 1973 novel. Woods’ last album was LEGACY! LEGACY!, her acclaimed 2019 sophomore album that honored artists of color with titles such as “BALDWIN,” “BASQUIAT,” and “ZORA.” 

In a press release Asghar had this to say about directing the video: "Who do we give ourselves permission to be when we're alone? When our gaze is only on ourselves? I've always loved SULA by Toni Morrison, and been particularly struck by the way that Sula isn't understood by the people around her because of her sexuality. Being in quarantine, connecting to my own sexuality in a way that I hadn't before, re-reading Sula and listening to the song inspired me to think through the concept of the video. The music video follows Jamila as she goes from the outside world to the inside, disrobing in the comfort of her own space, stripping down to her interior—the part of her no one else gets to see. Quarantine has had us all wondering what our lives, our sexuality, is like away from the gaze of the world. And Sula is all about empowered sexuality, carving your own path outside of what society thinks is okay. Embracing both the empowered erotic in her own way, this video will show a side to Jamila we've never seen before.” 

In a previous press release, Woods explains why she wrote the song: “It’s the first Toni Morisson novel I ever read and 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. On Sula, Toni Morrison wrote, ‘living totally by the law and surrendering totally to it without questioning anything sometimes makes it impossible to know anything about yourself.’ Returning to the story several years later, 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. This song is a mantra to allow myself space to experience my gender, love, intimacy, and sexuality on my own terms.”

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