Poet and vocalist Jamila Woods was raised in Chicago, IL and graduated from Brown University, where she earned a BA in Africana Studies and Theatre & Performance Studies. Influenced by Lucille Clifton and Gwendolyn Brooks, much of her writing explores blackness, womanhood & the city of Chicago. Her first chapbook, The Truth About Dolls (2012), was inspired by a Toni Morisson quote & features a Pushcart-nominated poem about Frida Kahlo. Her poetry is included in the anthologies The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015), Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (2014), and The UnCommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning & Living (2013).
Jamila is also a vocalist & songwriter, focusing primarily on soul/hip-hop centered music. Her musical lineage includes Erykah Badu, Imogen Heap, Kirk Franklin, and Kendrick Lamar. Raised in her church choir, Jamila’s musical aesthetic involves choral layering in addition to the hip-hop tradition of sampling & allusions. Her work with her band, M&O (fka Milo & Otis) has been featured by Okayplayer, Spin, JET and Ebony Magazine.
Jamila is currently the Associate Artistic Director of non-profit youth organization Young Chicago Authors, where she helps organize Louder Than A Bomb (the largest poetry festival in the world), designs curriculum for Chicago Public Schools, and teaches poetry to young people throughout the city.