Understatement: Jamila Woods has had a productive year. Signing with what is currently Chicago’s most significant label, Closed Sessions, a hit single and video ("blk grl soldier"), plus her appearance on the Chance Church banger “Sunday Candy”, leading the way for Macklemore as he wrestled with his own issues of race, co-writing credits plus hook on the Seattle rapper’s track “White Privilege 2", appearances on Sway In The Morning, multiple TV appearances (Colbert!), and an album on the way! Jamila Woods has worked her way onto the national stage.
Jamila speaks truth to power. Her music is revolutionary, with an open-heartedness that could sneak her content past the most conservative. Her creations are as much political as biographical; she, her friends, her family, have all lived this. Speaking for those on the margins, her music keeps warm even when delving into the coldness our world shivers in. A member of the Chicago activist community, her message has resonated here, and now here has become “there”. The laundry list of problems in Chicago is not entirely unique to Chicago, and Jamila’s ease of finding common ground on a national scale has spread her message far.
The ascendance of Chance has helped her cause. “A rising tide lifts all ships” may have been bastardized by the politics, but in the context of Chicago music, it bears truth. Chance is the moon's gravitational pull, and has involved local artists that he considers family, Save Money or otherwise.
From what I can tell, she has not headlined a local show since Thanksgiving weekend 2015. That was a Stix Jam Night, and she killed it. Chance and Towkio popped in. It was a whole lot of fun. Her performance was a conversation between her and the audience, an exploration of identity, love, politics and humanity. Her music vibes no matter the subject matter, and her skill as a live performer, enhanced by experience in spoken word, is matched by few in the city.
With a headlining show scheduled tonight at Double Door to celebrate the release of her solo debut Heavn, Jamila is given the opportunity to give back to the city that has celebrated her accolades all year. This Double Door show will be one for the books, so if you haven't copped some tickets, now's the time. There will be a free after party at 11 as well, but you want to be there for the music.