• Michelle Smith

Amazing Melanated Mommies: 17

Updated: Apr 18, 2019

While African American history is too extraordinary to be summed up in a year, let alone a month, we will be celebrating phenomenal women who changed the world as we see it now all while raising children. If they can do it, so can we. Lets do it!!!

Hazel Dorothy Scott was a jazz and classical pianist, singer and actor, she also performed as herself in several films. Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Hazel moved to New York City at the age of 5 and had already started to earn scholarships to attend the Julliard School at the age of eight. She began performing in a jazz band in her teens and was performing on radio at age 16. She is perhaps most famous today for her ability to wow spectators by playing multiple pianos at once. Scott had long been committed to civil rights, particularly in Hollywood. She refused to take roles in Hollywood that cast her as a "singing maid”. When she began performing in Hollywood films, she insisted on having final cut privileges when it came to her appearance. In addition, she required control over her own wardrobe so that she could wear her own clothing if she felt that the studio's choices were unacceptable. Her final break with Columbia Pictures' Harry Cohn involved "a costume which she felt stereotyped blacks”. Scott also refused to perform in segregated venues when she was on tour. She was the first person of African decent to have her own TV show in America called The Hazel Scott Show, which premiered as a talent variety show. The show was however short lived as Scott soon found herself in hot water. With the advent of the Red Scare in the television industry, Scott's name appeared in Red Channels: A Report on Communist Influence in Radio and Television in June 1950. Scott voluntarily appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee, insisting on reading a prepared statement before HUAC that denied that she was ever knowingly connected with the Communist Party or any of its front organizations. She did however state that she had supported Communist Party member Benjamin J. Davis's run for City Council. Her show was canceled a week after her appearance. Not afraid of losing personal gains for the overall betterment of Blacks was one of her most critical contributions, along with being a mother to her only son Adam Clayton Powell lll. Salute Mr. Hazel Scott.

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