Hazel Dorothy Scott (June 11, 1920 – October 2, 1981) was a Trinidadian-born jazz and classical pianist, singer and actor; she also performed as herself in several films.
Born in Port of Spain, Hazel was taken at the age of four by her mother to New York City. Recognized early as a musical prodigy, Scott was given scholarships from the age of eight to study at the Juilliard School.
Hazel began performing in a jazz band in her teens and was performing on radio at age 16. She was prominent as a jazz singer throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In 1950, she became the first black person to have a TV show, The Hazel Scott Show, featuring a variety of entertainment. Her career in America faltered after she testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy era. Scott subsequently moved to Paris in the late 1950s and performed in France, not returning to the United States until 1967.
This video is an auto-biography of Hazel Scott’s life. The main thing we should all appreciate her for is the way she stood up for black people being portrayed in a respectable manner. She not only refused to perform in segregated venues, her unwillingness to participate in movies that portrayed black people as servants and prostitutes is the reason her career was cut short. We owe her a debt of gratitude for standing up for equality and a respectable portrayal of black people.
Alicia Keys pays tribute to Hazel Scott with dual pianos at the 2019 Grammy Awards and shout’s her out as one of her musical inspirations.
Hazel Scott with a masterful performance on two Grand Pianos.
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Albert Earl Jr.
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