Inspirational Quotes from Jamila Woods

When you’re in a choir, it’s about blending into how everyone else sounds.

Jamila Woods

I think of music as creating a space. I like to put things in that are comforting to me and are nostalgic. To me, that’s what sampling does in songs; it’s making deeper layers for people who know where it comes from, but also referencing another part of my history and my memory or a memory that I have.

Jamila Woods

I like to borrow forms and quotes and use a lot of allusions, in both poetry and music.

Jamila Woods

For black and brown people, caring for ourselves and each other is not a neutral act. It is a necessary and radical part of the struggle to create a more just society. Our healing and survival are essential to the fight.

Jamila Woods

It’s important to me that there’s not just one story told about our city. ‘LSD’ is an ode to Chicago, a song for the complicated love I have for my city.

Jamila Woods

I wish that more people, especially young people, were taught about self-love at a younger age.

Jamila Woods

I read this book when I was young. It’s about a black girl growing up in Heaven, Ohio. The cover has a black girl with clouds behind her. It was the first book cover I ever saw with a girl that looked like me.

Jamila Woods

My hope is that ‘Blk Girl Soldier’ is a freedom song for black women today who are fighting the macro- and microaggressions of daily life in our city/country/world.

Jamila Woods

In church, the music is for everyone. People are singing off tune, loud; they’re not ashamed – it’s for their healing. That’s kind of just what I strive for, that feeling.

Jamila Woods

When I started writing poetry, it was always in very hip-hop influenced spaces: Someone would teach a Nas song side-by-side with a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, and we’d talk about the connections between those things.

Jamila Woods

I read ‘Song of Solomon’ by Toni Morrison in college, and it just blew my mind.

Jamila Woods

There is a lot of history buried in Chicago that I still have yet to discover.

Jamila Woods

I have a band called M&O. We were working on our first album in 2011 or 2012. We were looking for people to collaborate with, and I met Chance through a Young Chicago Authors poetry slam.

Jamila Woods

There is so much talent in Milwaukee, and such diversity.

Jamila Woods

My mentors were very good.

Jamila Woods

With lyrics, being a poet gave me a different approach than other people.

Jamila Woods

They say Chicago is for haters. No one will just sweat each other and say, ‘Oh, you’re so good,’ if you’re not. Which is another reason I’m inspired to stay.

Jamila Woods

When I was a kid, getting on Lake Shore Drive from the south side to go downtown was magical.

Jamila Woods

A lot of people get Chicago wrong. I’ve developed this protective feeling about how we’re portrayed, and at the same time, I’m acutely aware of the issues we face and the root causes of these issues.

Jamila Woods

HEAVN’ is about black girlhood, about Chicago, about the people we miss who have gone on to prepare a place for us somewhere else, about the city/world we aspire to live in. I hope this album encourages listeners to love themselves and love each other.

Jamila Woods

It was through poetry I learned just to appreciate my own voice and to not think of my voice in terms of what it needs to be able to do, but what it can do.

Jamila Woods

I’m interested in figuring out what freedom songs would sound like in 2016.

Jamila Woods

I don’t sound like other people. My voice isn’t as loud and can’t do certain things athletically.

Jamila Woods

My mentor made me say a poem over and over. ‘Stop! That’s not your voice. Start again.’ I was sobbing by the end, but it drilled into my head that my voice is important.

Jamila Woods

Part of our pedagogy is, you report on what’s going on in your neighborhood and your city.

Jamila Woods

Part of what I like about living in Chicago is it’s not easy. The breath of the city, the everyday challenge of it, is good. It forces you to grow and push yourself.

Jamila Woods

Part of what I like about living in Chicago is it’s not easy. The breath of the city, the everyday challenge of it, is good. It forces you to grow and push yourself.

Jamila Woods

My artistic manifesto exists in the world as poetry. So even though most of the things that I’ve done have been on other people’s projects or could be pigeonholed in certain ways, that’s not how I perceive myself.

Jamila Woods

I’m nearsighted, in part, because I would read past my bedtime in the dark. I didn’t want my mom to see that I was still awake.

Jamila Woods

I’m creating art that can be healing. Art that can make you feel like you’re not alone, like you’re not an outsider. Art that is useful.

Jamila Woods

I love how music and chants were used in the Civil Rights movement to help people keep marching. How songs were both a balm and a call to action.

Jamila Woods

I hold strongly to my identity as a Chicago artist and want to do whatever I can to participate in creating a strong community here so that artists don’t feel pressure to move somewhere else to succeed.

Jamila Woods

I really value what Closed Sessions is doing to build the Chicago music scene and am excited to partner with them for my first solo project.

Jamila Woods

I really liked ‘Blk Girl Art.’ It’s like a manifesto saying why I create, whether it’s poetry or music.

Jamila Woods

I don’t create from a place of me making art for art’s sake, but wanting my work to actually do stuff… tangible things.

Jamila Woods

In some ways, I value specificity. I think that there’s power in, once you know who your fan base is, being able to speak to them. I hope to cultivate a fan base of black girls and black people and people of color, women of color, queer people, people who are are marginalized in general.

Jamila Woods

Hairdressers are all-knowing. They’re so wise.

Jamila Woods

A lot of people of color and the Black Lives Matter movement will talk about what’s really happening, but it seems like you can’t get the black president to say something that’s obvious about what’s happening to black people in this country.

Jamila Woods

The beach is still a public place, and that’s an amazing grace about Chicago. We have so many problems, but the water always stays. That inspires me and keeps me inspired about the city and keeps me hopeful.

Jamila Woods

Music is something that is supposed to connect people on a pure level.

Jamila Woods

That’s important for artists to remember: some people would like to be spokespeople, but others would like their art to speak.

Jamila Woods

My art gets called political, as opposed to my intending it to be political. I think that’s something that happens with black artists or marginalized voices trying to speak truth. Because there are things in the status quo to speak out against, speaking out against them will inherently be political.

Jamila Woods

Naming something, putting it on record, in a lyric, feels like affirming people. Ideally, that’s what politicians should want to do: to put laws or policies in place that speak to people’s experiences, to make them feel heard.

Jamila Woods

I think a lot of people, in general, have whatever mechanisms they have in order to go through the day. For me, I do just literally have post-it notes and other little messages to strengthen me on hard days, or just on regular days, to remind me – to remind ourselves – of our dopeness.

Jamila Woods

The good things about Chicago save me on a daily basis, like getting to work with my students, seeing a beautiful part of the city, or seeing the people that I love.

Jamila Woods

I’ve seen Chance and the Social Experiment build their own careers in the way that’s most authentic to them.

Jamila Woods

I think it’s just my nature to stay on the outside so that I can understand and observe.

Jamila Woods

I spent a lot time with my siblings because there weren’t too many young people on our block. We were our own best friends: making dances to a Stevie Wonder songs and singing with my mom.

Jamila Woods

I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in Beverly or my friends, but I listened to a lot of alternative rock music. I loved Incubus, Weezer and Jimmy Eat World. It almost felt segregated because I loved all of those acts over here, but then I also loved R&B and soul music I grew up with.

Jamila Woods

I started writing poems on a Xanga page. I always loved writing. I also had a Deviant Art page, actually, because my crush had one, too.

Jamila Woods

It’s important to immerse myself in one thing at a time to do it well, but I could never do one thing only. I will always be a poet and a singer, because I’m interested in bending genres and pushing boundaries of what is considered a poem, what is considered a song.

Jamila Woods

I like bringing my poet brain and sensibility to lyrics I write.

Jamila Woods