World-renowned jazz singer to deliver annual Stone Lecture

Six-time Grammy nominee, Nnenna Freelon will deliver the Sonja Haynes Stone Memorial Lecture Tuesday, October 2, at 7 p.m. in the Stone Center’s auditorium. This year’s lecture will be part of the Stone Center’s 30th-anniversary programming.

An international jazz singer, composer, producer, and arranger, Freelon has built a storied musical career spanning over thirty years. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theatre, and the Hollywood Bowl. In November 2011, The White House asked Freelon to headline the Asia Pacific Economic Summit for 300 Presidents, Premiers and Heads of State from around the world. She received a standing ovation for her performance during the 43rd annual Grammy Awards telecast and has headlined ActionAID, Sir Elton John’s international AIDS fundraiser.

Freelon was selected as this year’s lecturer because of her innovative approach to using her art and talents to address key issues in social justice and cultural activism. She has built a solid reputation as an educator using her art and her ideas to educate young and adult audiences. She toured the United States for four years as the National Spokesperson for Partners In Education, an organization with over 400,000 community/school partnerships across the country. Freelon also teaches classes, including her groundbreaking Babysong workshops at Duke University Medical Center that teach young mothers and healthcare providers the importance of the human voice in healing and nurturing.

She has received numerous awards, including the Billie Holiday Award from the prestigious Academie du Jazz and the Eubie Blake Award from the Cultural Crossroads Center in New York City. The YWCA of North Carolina awarded her the inaugural Legend Award for her commitment to the arts and arts education and was also named the 2010 Woman of Substance by Bennett College.

The Sonja Haynes Stone Memorial Lecture is an annual event that features a woman of color who is distinguished by her scholarship, commitment to social justice, and public service. The Stone Center has hosted twenty-four lectures over the past thirty years, which have included such speakers as Edwidge Danticat, Bell Hooks, Eva Clayton, and Angela Davis.