A little more than two years ago, the Chicago R&B singer Jamila Woods knocked us out with her album HEAVN. Woods has been busy since then, working with other artists and playing shows. But she’s only just now coming out with a new track of her own, and it’s a long time coming.
Woods’ new song “Giovanni,” which is named after the poet Nikki Giovanni and which references her work, has been in the works for some time. Woods actually debuted the song live at Stereogum’s SXSW showcase in 2017, which means it’s about a year and a half old. But it sounds bright and fresh and inviting, a rippling and undeniable track about embracing your own self-worth.
The studio version of “Giovanni” is four minutes long, but the song’s new music video, which Woods co-directed with Vincent Martel, is more than twice as long. It’s full of images of black women, and it gives many of them — including Woods’ own mother and grandmother — chances to talk about their lives and about what they’re proud of. Below, you can both watch the video and listen to the studio version.