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Jazz singer Nnenna Freelon talks about coping with grief in her podcast 'Great Grief'

Samantha Everette
The Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture
Nnenna Freelon.

Grammy-nominated jazz singer Nnenna Freelon will tape a live broadcast of her podcast on love, loss and grief — titled "Great Grief" — on Wednesday at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture, which was designed by her husband, renowned architect Phil Freelon.

Nnenna Freelon describes her latest album, "Time Traveler," filled with songs they listened to over their more than 40-year relationship, as a love letter to her husband, who died in 2019 of ALS. In the title song, "Time Traveler," Phil Freelon’s voice can be heard in a voice message he left for her.

"He left me a lot of voice memos, some I haven’t heard yet," Freelon said. "This (one on "Time Traveler") is a voice message that I found after he passed. I feel like it’s his way of letting me know that love can’t be annihilated after death."

Freelon shares many stories about her husband in the podcast and how she learned to cope with his death. She also talks about other types of grief and uses song and humor to connect with her listeners. Freelon is quick to say she is not a therapist but someone who has something in common with a lot of people. She hopes through her podcast listeners can find hope and realize that they are not alone in their struggle with grief.

Nnenna Freelon lives in Durham. She will record a live segment of her podcast "Great Grief," filled with music and storytelling, at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

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Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.