Loving on Jamila Woods + Her “Holy”

You know that feeling, when you stumble upon a song by some artist you’ve never heard of before and you fall all the way to the ground so hard you dig up everything you can find that they’ve ever launched into the atmosphere? You do this with a little trepidation, because all their stuff can’t be soul shattering, right? And, yes, once in a rare, bright moon, you find an artist whose every well chosen beat and fiery high note breaks your body wide open. It can happen, but it’s hella rare. Not since Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation have I wanted to eat up everything an artist has thrown down.

Enter Jamila Woods.

My girl Lee Kava, who is a gorgeous songstress in her own right, posted Jamila Woods’s then-free* album HEAVN last fall to my Facebook page, saying that she thought I might dig her sound, and I felt that familiar soul-buckling. Every single song on that album blazes a trail of fire in your heart, with funky dance songs and reflecting and searing self-love ragers (see “Holy” below) alongside bold tracks that draw attention to the genealogy of intersectional politics and the centuries-long racism and sexism that black women in the US have fought so relentlessly and powerfully against (see “Blk Girl Soldier”).

Dear Jamila Woods, thank you. Thank you for your funky collaborations (peep every single song on M&O aka Milo & Otis’s 2014 Almost Us that I legit have had on repeat since I stumbled upon it on my Spotify Discover Weekly–and thank you, Spotify!).

But this music review/love letter is about Jamila Wood’s rerelease from last month–the song “Holy.”

You’re gonna wanna check out this song. Trust me. With lyrics like this–lyrics that remind us that in a world that seeks to destroy black bodies, that tells us that we are worthless if not attached, that the romantic love should be the barometer of a woman’s success, self-love–on our own–is a radical and revolutionary act. It’s holy.

Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me
With my mind set on loving me
Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me
With my mind set on loving me
I’m not lonely, I’m alone
And I’m holy by my own
I’m not lonely, I’m alone
And I’m holy by my own

And then you’re gonna wanna Jamila Woods wormhole with me too. Here’s a list of collaborations she’s had (at least the ones I know of) so you can find more of her gorgeous self:

  • with Malcolm London (“Opia”)
  • with Mackelmore (“White Privilege II”)
  • with Kweku Collins (aka my husband) (“Ego Killed Romance”
  • with Chance the Rapper (“Sunday Candy”)
  • with oddCouple (“Love Above”)
  • with Jesse Williams (“Family”)
  • with Add-2 (“Young Black Boy”)

You’re welcome to message me at itslitwithphdj@gmail.com if you have other collaborations you think I should add to this list. And you’re welcome to tune in to my Tuesday night show here on KTUH (9 to midnight HST) for songs like this and others in this family. (TBH, if licensing permitted, I’d totally have a Jamila Woods show….)

Enjoy, fam! PhDJ out!


*The album isn’t free anymore, but the music blogosphere promises it’ll be rereleased soon <3

One response to “Loving on Jamila Woods + Her “Holy”

  1. Hey, thank you for some of the best 60 soul music I have ever heard. Certainly in Hawaii. You just don’t get to hear this music around much anymore and my 15 year old daughter is getting an
    education from the great stuff from the great black soul singers. Thanks a lot for the hit on Jamil woods. Got to check her out. UTube? Aloha

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