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February 25, 2017

Hazel Scott: The Piano Prodigy Was the First Woman of Color to Have Her Own TV Show

Hazel Dorothy Scott (1920 – 1981) was a Trinidadian-born jazz and classical pianist and singer; 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. Recognized early as a musical prodigy, Scott was given scholarships from the age of eight to study at the Juilliard School. She 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 person of color to have a TV show, The Hazel Scott Show, featuring a variety of entertainment. Her career in America faltered after a scandalous affair with the married preacher and politician Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and 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.

Here below is a photo collection showing the beauty of this talented woman in her young age.


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