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Nnenna and Pierce Freelon album honors ancestors including architectural giant Phil Freelon

Nnenna Freelon (left) and Pierce Freelon (right) created the new album "Ancestars." (Chris Charles)
Nnenna Freelon (left) and Pierce Freelon (right) created the new album "Ancestars." (Chris Charles)

In 2019 architectural giant Phil Freelon died of ALS. He was the force behind the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and dozens of other projects in North Carolina and around the country. To his family, including his wife Nnenna Freelon and son Pierce Freelon, Phil’s death marked the end of one phase and a transition to a new one where he’s now remembered and honored as an ancestor.

The cover of “Ancestars” by Nnenna and Pierce Freelon. (Courtesy of Nnenna and Pierce Freelon)

Pierce and Nnenna made history last year as the first mother-son pair both nominated for Grammy awards for their music. Pierce is a hip-hop and soul musician and co-founder of the Beat-Making lab. Nnenna is a singer, composer and actress. Together, they’re releasing a new album: “Ancestars.” The album, focusing on the role of ancestors, family, memory and culture, honors and grieves Phil Freelon.

Nnenna and Pierce join host Robin Young to discuss their art and Phil Freelon’s legacy.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. (Susan Walsh/AP)

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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