10 episodes

A podcast about loving greatly through grief.


Scalawag knows that for many of us, our grief is simultaneously never news, and the only news. From the mind and lived experience of celebrated jazz artist Nnenna Freelon, Great Grief is a life-honoring outpouring of word, story, and song that plumbs the depths of her own sorrow after the death of her beloved husband, Philip, and her sister, Debbie Irene.


Award-winning Great Grief re-emerges at Scalawag through podcasts and live events as a dynamic space for Black women to indulge our griefs, savor our loves, and mourn in community. Each four-episode season is organized around topics that intertwine our grief experiences, topics like sisterhood, the inevitability of change, and Black love.


A new season drops every quarter, accompanied by a live opportunity to gather around our griefs in different cities across the South. Find out more about live events and other ways engage at: https://scalawagmagazine.org/great-grief/


Read a conversation between Nnenna Freelon and Scalawag Arts & Soul Editor-at-Large Alysia Harris about creating a podcast for Black women to engage with their grief: https://scalawagmagazine.org/2023/08/nnenna-freelon-great-grief-podcast/


Read more stories from Scalawag's ongoing engagement with grief & other loves: https://scalawagmagazine.org/southern-grief/


Join the Great Grief Facebook community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/greatgriefcommunity

Great Grief Nnenna Freelon & Scalawag Magazine

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 43 Ratings

A podcast about loving greatly through grief.


Scalawag knows that for many of us, our grief is simultaneously never news, and the only news. From the mind and lived experience of celebrated jazz artist Nnenna Freelon, Great Grief is a life-honoring outpouring of word, story, and song that plumbs the depths of her own sorrow after the death of her beloved husband, Philip, and her sister, Debbie Irene.


Award-winning Great Grief re-emerges at Scalawag through podcasts and live events as a dynamic space for Black women to indulge our griefs, savor our loves, and mourn in community. Each four-episode season is organized around topics that intertwine our grief experiences, topics like sisterhood, the inevitability of change, and Black love.


A new season drops every quarter, accompanied by a live opportunity to gather around our griefs in different cities across the South. Find out more about live events and other ways engage at: https://scalawagmagazine.org/great-grief/


Read a conversation between Nnenna Freelon and Scalawag Arts & Soul Editor-at-Large Alysia Harris about creating a podcast for Black women to engage with their grief: https://scalawagmagazine.org/2023/08/nnenna-freelon-great-grief-podcast/


Read more stories from Scalawag's ongoing engagement with grief & other loves: https://scalawagmagazine.org/southern-grief/


Join the Great Grief Facebook community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/greatgriefcommunity

    Seasons of Change: Holiday Season

    Seasons of Change: Holiday Season

    The festive season carries such a high expectation of joy that can feel inaccessible for so many grievers. In this previously-recorded live edition of Great Grief, Nnenna Freelon gathers with community to create a warm space for us to sit with our loves and our losses in the company of those who also know suffering. 
    Join Scalawag and Nnenna Freelon in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday, December 10 for "Great Grief—Live! Home for the Holidays," a live music performance and uplifting conversation exploring loss, love, and how to move forward with grief during the holidays. Reserve your tickets today. This is episode four in the second four-episode season of Great Grief with Nnenna Freelon, "Seasons of Change." The seasons are changing—an apt metaphor to talk about the shedding, withering, and falling away that accompanies the most painful parts of grief. This season, Nnenna looks to nature and the cyclical movement of time to delve deeper into loss, creating rituals and making discoveries that help us reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the ones we’ve lost. 
    ---
    Unlike other podcasts on grief, Great Grief by Grammy-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon doesn’t give you a blueprint for how to get over it. Instead, she offers her own experiences as a wife, a sister, a Black woman, and a powerful jazz artist to help you get into it. Each four-episode season is organized around topics that intertwine our grief experiences—topics like sisterhood, the inevitability of change, and Black love. A new collection drops every quarter, accompanied by a live opportunity for us to gather around our griefs in different cities across the South. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now on all podcast platforms.
    Learn more about Great Grief and find upcoming live events near you. Check out the archive of essays in Scalawag's grief & other loves series. Join the Great Grief Facebook community.

    • 52 min
    Seasons of Change: The World Since You Left

    Seasons of Change: The World Since You Left

    How do we communicate with those who have “gone?” Is it even possible? In this episode of Great Grief, Nnenna Freelon sets about asking the moon, the sun, and even the leaves how she might get in touch with her beloved Phil. If grief shows us that time isn’t linear, maybe sorrow is more than a season. Maybe it’s a portal. 
    Join Scalawag and Nnenna Freelon in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday, December 10 for "Great Grief—Live! Home for the Holidays," a live music performance and uplifting conversation exploring loss, love, and how to move forward with grief during the holidays. Reserve your tickets today. This is episode two in the second four-episode season of Great Grief with Nnenna Freelon, "Seasons of Change." The seasons are changing—an apt metaphor to talk about the shedding, withering, and falling away that accompanies the most painful parts of grief. This season, Nnenna looks to nature and the cyclical movement of time to delve deeper into loss, creating rituals and making discoveries that help us reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the ones we’ve lost. 
    ---
    Unlike other podcasts on grief, Great Grief by Grammy-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon doesn’t give you a blueprint for how to get over it. Instead, she offers her own experiences as a wife, a sister, a Black woman, and a powerful jazz artist to help you get into it. Each four-episode season is organized around topics that intertwine our grief experiences—topics like sisterhood, the inevitability of change, and Black love. A new collection drops every quarter, accompanied by a live opportunity for us to gather around our griefs in different cities across the South. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now on all podcast platforms.
    Learn more about Great Grief and find upcoming live events near you. Check out the archive of essays in Scalawag's grief & other loves series. Join the Great Grief Facebook community.

    • 35 min
    Seasons of Change: Ashes, Ashes

    Seasons of Change: Ashes, Ashes

    Grief can take us to our knees—right back to the dirt, dust, and the earth, from which all things grow. In this episode of Great Grief, Nnenna Freelon consults Mother Nature—and a Black woman hemp farmer—to lean into how we might grow on even in harsh environments and bitter seasons.
    Join Scalawag and Nnenna Freelon in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday, December 10 for "Great Grief—Live! Home for the Holidays," a live music performance and uplifting conversation exploring loss, love, and how to move forward with grief during the holidays. Reserve your tickets today. This is episode three in the second four-episode season of Great Grief with Nnenna Freelon, "Seasons of Change." The seasons are changing—an apt metaphor to talk about the shedding, withering, and falling away that accompanies the most painful parts of grief. This season, Nnenna looks to nature and the cyclical movement of time to delve deeper into loss, creating rituals and making discoveries that help us reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the ones we’ve lost. 
    ---
    Unlike other podcasts on grief, Great Grief by Grammy-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon doesn’t give you a blueprint for how to get over it. Instead, she offers her own experiences as a wife, a sister, a Black woman, and a powerful jazz artist to help you get into it. Each four-episode season is organized around topics that intertwine our grief experiences—topics like sisterhood, the inevitability of change, and Black love. A new collection drops every quarter, accompanied by a live opportunity for us to gather around our griefs in different cities across the South. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now on all podcast platforms.
    Learn more about Great Grief and find upcoming live events near you. Check out the archive of essays in Scalawag's grief & other loves series. Join the Great Grief Facebook community.

    • 30 min
    Seasons of Change: Falling

    Seasons of Change: Falling

    In this episode of Great Grief, we follow Nnenna Freelon on a walk through the woods, where she contemplates autumn, the changing of the seasons, and the possibility of renewal after everything dies.
    Read a transcript of this episode. Join Scalawag and Nnenna Freelon in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday, December 10 for "Great Grief—Live! Home for the Holidays," a live music performance and uplifting conversation exploring loss, love, and how to move forward with grief during the holidays. Reserve your tickets today. This is episode one in the second four-episode season of Great Grief with Nnenna Freelon, "Seasons of Change." The seasons are changing—an apt metaphor to talk about the shedding, withering, and falling away that accompanies the most painful parts of grief. This season, Nnenna looks to nature and the cyclical movement of time to delve deeper into loss, creating rituals and making discoveries that help us reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the ones we’ve lost. 
    ---
    Unlike other podcasts on grief, Great Grief by Grammy-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon doesn’t give you a blueprint for how to get over it. Instead, she offers her own experiences as a wife, a sister, a Black woman, and a powerful jazz artist to help you get into it. Each four-episode season is organized around topics that intertwine our grief experiences—topics like sisterhood, the inevitability of change, and Black love. A new collection drops every quarter, accompanied by a live opportunity for us to gather around our griefs in different cities across the South. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now on all podcast platforms.
    Learn more about Great Grief and find upcoming live events near you. Check out the archive of essays in Scalawag's grief & other loves series. Join the Great Grief Facebook community.  

    • 39 min
    Trailer - Season 2: Seasons of Change

    Trailer - Season 2: Seasons of Change

    Great Grief with Nnenna Freelon, season 2: "Seasons of Change," launches November 28, 2023. The seasons are changing, an apt metaphor to talk about the shedding, withering, and falling away that accompanies the most painful parts of grief. In the latest series of Great Grief, Nnenna looks to nature and the cyclical movement of time to delve deeper into loss, creating rituals and making discoveries that help us reconnect with ourselves, each other, and the ones we’ve lost. 
    For many people, holidays are a time of celebration marked by family, faith, and food. This time of year can also be a period of remembrance. Yes, grief has a seat at the table. But grieving in the holiday season doesn’t have to be a solo or solemn affair. 
    Sunday, December 10, 2023: Come visit with Scalawag and Nnenna Freelon in Durham, North Carolina, for Great Grief—Live! Home for the Holidays. Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon invites you to join her for a live music performance and an uplifting conversation to explore loss, love, and how to move forward with grief during the holidays. 
    Accompanied by keyboardist Andrew Berinson, Nnenna will share her story and discuss the process of healing through word and song. Great Grief is produced by Nnenna Freelon and Scalawag, a grassroots Southern media organization committed to building political and social consciousness, in collaboration with OnlyUs Media, a Durham-based, Afrofuturist production company.
    Reserve your tickets today.
    ---
    Unlike other podcasts on grief, Great Grief by Grammy-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon doesn’t give you a blueprint for how to get over it. Instead, she offers her own experiences as a wife, a sister, a Black woman, and a powerful jazz artist to help you get into it. 
    Each four-episode season is organized around topics that intertwine our grief experiences, topics like sisterhood, the inevitability of change, and Black love. A new collection drops every quarter, accompanied by a live opportunity for us to gather around our griefs in different cities across the South.
    Learn more: https://scalawagmagazine.org/great-grief/

    • 33 sec
    Wailing Women: Black Widow

    Wailing Women: Black Widow

    The podcast Great Grief takes shape around Nnenna’s own great grief, which she experienced after the death of her husband, Philip Freelon, in 2019. A wife for nearly 40 years, Nnenna wonders in this episode what to make of the term "widow."Perhaps loss does not make her into a widow. Perhaps it is turning her into something else altogether.
    Read a transcript of this episode. This is episode four in our four-part season of Great Grief with Nnenna Freelon, "Wailing Women," exploring the profound beauty and irreparable losses we experience as Black women through story and song. Listen to all four episodes, touching on the shock of widowhood, the bittersweet of sisterhood, and the love-hate journeys many of us have with our hair. As we give voice to the wailing women within, we find more than tears.
    ---
    Unlike other podcasts on grief, Great Grief by Grammy-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon doesn’t give you a blueprint for how to get over it. Instead, she offers her own experiences as a wife, a sister, a Black woman, and a powerful jazz artist to help you get into it. Each four-episode season is organized around topics that intertwine our grief experiences—topics like sisterhood, the inevitability of change, and Black love. A new collection drops every quarter, accompanied by a live opportunity for us to gather around our griefs in different cities across the South. Season 1 is available now on all podcast platforms.
    Learn more about Great Grief and find upcoming live events near you. Check out the archive of essays in Scalawag's grief & other loves series. Join the Great Grief Facebook community.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

Sammi Rebecca ,

Soothing

A very special podcast for fellow travelers, especially those who have lost their partner after many years of marriage

c-crash ,

Just found this

Referred by Phoebe Judge from her Love podcast
I like this it’s done very well

JyQu3 ,

This is beautiful

I’m late to the show, but I’m a few episodes in and this is beautiful. The details, the stories, the score, the way she speaks of her love with so much elegance. I am amazed, impressed, and inspired.

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