Following her incomparable debut HEAVN, Jamila Woods returns with a new single, “Giovanni,” which she premiered this morning with the Poetry Foundation and for which she makes her directorial debut.
Co-directed alongside Woods’ frequent collaborator Vincent Martell of the Chicago-based production company, “Giovanni” moves between music video and documentary, balancing Woods’s music and imagination with an elemental, front-and-center glimpse of the prism of Black women that inspire Woods. In fact the first voice in this video is not Jamila’s but her grandmother’s, asserting plainly, “If you really want something done and done well, do it yourself.” Monologues from performance artist Po’ Chop, teaching artist and scholar Dominique James, former Chicago Youth Poet Laureate E’mon Lauren, hair artist Mo G, yoga instructor and youth programming director Kesha Daniels-Rush (Woods’ cousin) and author/healer Philippa Norman (Woods’ mother) reinforce that truth.
“Giovanni” is named for the poet, writer, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni, and is inspired by her poem “Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why).” She first spoke to the Poetry Foundation (an independent literary organization and publisher of Poetry magazine) at length about her love for poetry and the deep significance of this release – read it here.
“‘Giovanni’ is a song about owning & celebrating all the parts of myself,” Jamila said. “It’s about legacy and lineage, and how the love & strength of the people who made me makes me feel invincible.”
Jamila will also be doing a special show as part of Red Bull Music Festival Chicago on November 30 at the Harold Washington Cultural Center Performing Arts Theatre. Marking her last performance of HEAVN, the show will be a fully immersive experience bringing her critically acclaimed album to life. For more information, go here.