GRAMMY Nominated Jazz Vocalist Nnenna Freelon to Visit Camden

As the culmination of a week-long celebration in downtown Camden, the City of Camden’s cultural district and the Arts Center of Kershaw County are pleased to welcome GRAMMY nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, for a special event, “Thoughts on Grief: An Intimate Conversation with Nneena Freelon”, on Saturday, September 10th at 4:00 pm.

In this guided conversation with Rosalyn Smith-Stover, executive director of the Family Resource Center and founder of Act Up Drama in Camden, Freelon will discuss how the loss of her soulmate and husband, renowned architect Phil Freelon, and her sister Debbie have reshaped her way of being in the world. 

Freelon is a winner of both the Billie Holiday Award from the prestigious Academie du Jazz and the Eubie Blake Award from the Cultural Crossroads Center in New York City. She was nominated twice as “Lady of Soul” by the Soul Train Awards. Freelon has dedicated herself to educating young people, both musicians and non-musicians, and students of all ages as the former National Spokesperson for Partners in Education and through her own master classes and workshops “Sound Sculpture” and “Babysong”. She received the “Youth Empowerment Through the Arts” Award and “Artist of the Year’ Award (2019) from the National Association of Women in The Arts. She was named a “Woman of Substance” by Bennett College for Women, and numerous other accolades.

Ms. Freelon has felt the need to find her "voice" once more, through the lens of grief and loss. Her 2021 recording "Time Traveler" (her first studio recording in nearly ten years) is a reflection of this new territory, an intimate expression of her love for Phil and their 40 year journey and a universal love letter to all who’ve lost someone dear. 

As founder and artistic director of Act Up Drama, Rosalyn Smith-Stover leads students and participants of the applied theatre concept through the techniques of drama to address issues of social concern - questioning, discussing, and addressing social issues, as opposed to focusing on merely creating a public performance. Smith-Stover is a registered drama therapist and holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Change and Leadership from Columbia College. Her areas of special interest include trauma-informed and responsive approaches, and diverse, equitable, and inclusive practices. Her recent projects include the “Building A Dream” Program at Jackson Elementary School in Camden, based on the 2020 book about Nnenna Freelon’s late husband, Philip Freelon.

This event will begin at 4 pm at Camden Second Presbyterian Church, 816 Market Street in Camden. This event is free, with a suggested $25 donation. Tickets can be reserved online at or by calling 803-549-5648. Tickets to both the conversation and a private 30 minute reception with Ms. Freelon afterwards are available for $35. 

The event is sponsored by Act Up Drama and the Downtown Camden Cultural District, in partnership of the Arts Center of Kershaw County. Support is also provided the African American Cultural Center, a department of the Camden Archives & Museum.

In addition to these events, residents and visitors are encouraged to explore all of the cultural district’s shops and restaurants, where activities and special events are planned year round. For more information on the cultural district or any of the events taking place during the celebration, visit or call 803-549-5648.