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The first Black woman to host her own TV program was a Julliard-trained pianist, who spoke seven languages fluently. Her name was Hazel Scott. To celebrate her legacy and her 101st birthday, join the March On Washington Film Festival this month for a special screening of A Celebration of Hazel Scott: Activism through Music and Art.

Scott’s story is special. Though she was a woman of many skills, the multi-hyphenate creative was ultimately blacklisted by the entertainment industry for speaking out against segregation. Scott is considerably one of the most influential sheros, whose name most people don’t know.

The young activist passed in 1981, and throughout her lifetime, she was known for her courageous testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee and her outspoken advocacy for civil rights. Few artists have used their public profile to combat racial injustice as valiantly as she did.

A message from the March On Washington Film Festival regarding the documentary: 

We are honored to celebrate the 101st birthday of this famed jazz and classical pianist with a very special virtual event.  Free to the public,this special program will take place on Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 7pm.  Information and registration information is here.

Our special program  includes a special screening of Apollo Live Wire – Hazel Scott, produced by our cultural partner, the world-famous Apollo Theater. The film features narration by Scott biographer Karen Chilton, with performances by pianist Damien Sneed and saxophonist & vocalist Camille Thurman. An enlightening conversation with Sneed and MOWFF Artistic Director, Isisara Bey, precedes the screening.

In a career that spanned over four decades, Hazel Scott captivated audiences worldwide with her swing renditions of the classics. Born in Port-au-Spain, Trinidad and raised in Harlem, Scott used her influence to improve the representation of African Americans on-screen, and on her own television show, The Hazel Scott Show, in 1950.

An activist, pianist, artist, mother, and wife, Hazel Scott is a Trinidad-born American Jazz and classical pianist, singer, and actress. Born 1920, Hazel Scott’s artistry gave her the platform to speak out against racial discrimination, segregation, and advocate for better representation of Black Americans in film and the arts. Accredited as the first African-American woman to host her own television show, we are proud to celebrate her legacy this African American History Month!


The documentary film is produced by the Apollo Theater, narrated by Hazel Scott biographer Karen Chilton, and features performances by pianist Damien Sneed and saxophonist & vocalist Camille Thurman. The screening will also feature a virtual conversation with recording artist and instrumentalist Damien Sneed and MOWFF Artistic Director Isisara Bey.

The March on Washington Film Festival offers year-round independent programming in cities across the country, in addition to its annual festival held every fall in Washington, D.C.

Register to attend and stream the virtual event and special screening of A Celebration of Hazel Scott: Activism through Music and Art on February 24, 2022 at 7 PM ET here.  


First Black Woman To Host Her Own Show: Hazel Scott To Be Celebrated By March On Washington Film Festival  was originally published on