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    Jamila Woods

    There’s a reason Jamila Woods’ name sounds familiar. The Chicago artist and social activist frequently collaborates with fellow Chicagoan Chance The Rapper, and has also lent her warm, soulful vocals to tracks like Macklemore’s “White Privilege II.”

    But the singer made her solo debut this month with Heavn, and it’s safe to say she nailed it. It’s not just the album’s breezy, glowing sound or the star-studded tracklist that make it a standout listen. Woods’ poignant lyrics—which cover material from police brutality to cultural appropriation, black girlhood, and her Chicago pride—give her the dual title of singer and poet. But above all, Woods’ music is refreshingly hopeful.

    It’s an understatement to say that her album came during a tough month for America, but Woods has just empowered listeners with songs that emanate resilience and unity in a time of loss.