Jamila Woods


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. Source 

beverly, huh.

you must be

made of money.

your parents

must have grown

on trees.

bet you’re black

tinged with green.

bet you sleep

on bags of it.

bet your barbies

climb it.

bet you never


bet you never

had to ask.

bet you golf.

bet you tennis.

bet you got

a summer house.

bet you got

a credit card

for your 5th birthday.

bet you played

with bills for toys.

bet you chew

them up

for dinner.

bet you spit

your black out

like tobacco

that’s why you talk so

bet you listen to green day.

bet you ain’t never heard of al.

bet your daddy wears a robe

around the house.

bet his hands are soft as a frog’s belly.

bet your house is on a hill.

bet the grass is freshly cut.

bet you feel like a princess.

bet the police protect your house.

bet you know their first names.

bet your house has a hundred rooms.

bet a black lady comes to clean them.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Poems of the Everyday


Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences