“It’s the first Toni Morisson novel I ever read and it inspired the first chapbook of poems I ever wrote,” Woods said in a statement. “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.’”
She added: “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.”
Jamila Woods’ most recent album was 2019’s LEGACY! LEGACY!, which followed a similar premise and included tributes to artists of color including Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Frida Kahlo.