Who Was She?

A podcast where your host shares the stories of women throughout Baha'i history.

Latest episode

  • 8. Bonus episode! BTS on Hazel Scott

    A conversation with host Tara and her friend, Angie. Learn how this podcast season came about, the challenges, the creative process, the people who helped make this season, and hear a sneak preview of who the next season will be about!

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 7. Moved To Her Feet

    Partial Transcript: Welcome, I am your host, Tara Jabbari. Who was she? Podcast will focus on the stories of women throughout history that were active in the Baha’i Faith. This season is about Hazel Scott, a talented musician and activist. She had evolved in her faith. Having been introduced to the Baha’i Faith by her good friend and famous jazz artist, Dizzy Gillespie, she was interested in learning more. She was particularly intrigued by “progressive revelation.” This is the belief that Manifestations of God represent stages in the spiritual evolution of civilization. These Manifestations include Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. Or as she explained, “Whenever man has been ready to absorb more knowledge, God has revealed it.” Baha’u’llah is the Manifestation of the Baha’i Faith.Hazel fought nonstop for what was right, she achieved many firsts and her talent was truly one of a kind. In one of the last interviews she ever did, she was asked what is the most important part in her life. Hazel replied, “The important part? When I have been able to transmit that which I have been singularly gifted with…to move an audience to their feet.” I hope you enjoyed learning about Hazel Scott, I certainly did and hope you are inspired and moved to your feet just like she would want. 
  • 6. Hazel's Paris

    Patrial Transcript: Recovering from the dissolution of her marriage as well as a second suicide attempt, Hazel was determined to move on with her life in Paris. The French film industry was interested in Hazel. Now that she felt she had earned more maturity and life experience, she was comfortable actually acting in a role. So she went on set for Le Desordre et la Nuit (Disorder of the Night) where she played a supporting role as a dancer. It was the first time she was playing someone other than herself on screen. Her son shared that after the first day of filming, Hazel came home and announced, “Your Mother does not speak french!” According to Skipper, he knew there was trouble whenever she began a sentence with “your mother.” It turned out that her accent needed work, not necessarily her language skills so the studio got her a french dialect coach.  That same day, they got the news that Harry Cohn, the president of Columbia Pictures had died. She explained to the cast and crew the whole story of Cohn and his promise that she would never make another movie until the day he died. And now, years after his promise, he died and she was on a set filming. It would become one of her favorite stories to tell, no longer would Cohn threaten her career on the big screen. Hazel went on to film a couple of other french films. Very nearly including Paris Blues  with Sidney Poitier & Paul Newman but ultimately the part went to another. She was still synonymous with being a musician even on the big screen. Hazel said, “Once you played the priest, you can never play the gangster…Everybody just wants me to come on and sing. And I can do so much more than that.” 
  • 5. A Great Act of Faith

    Partial transcript: Between 1950 to 1952, Hazel had nearly lost her reputation and her life. The Red Scare and the HUAC hearings put a toll on her career. The growing attention on her marriage, the loss of work in the United States, and the constant public attention caused Hazel to have a mental breakdown and attempt suicide. Thankfully by May 1952, Hazel was doing better through the best medical care her husband could find her. She was performing and showing the world that nothing could stop Hazel Scott and her immense talent. Paul E. Magliore, the President of Haiti invited Hazel to attend the 150th anniversary of Haiti’s independence. Hazel gladly accepted as she was an anti-colonialist and felt a kinship with the Haiti people. When years later, Trinidad, her birth country became a free country, her son remembered Hazel went screaming through the house, “We’re free! We’re free!” In 1955, Hazel wanted to go back to Paris and Adam encouraged the move but would not join her. They already were drifting apart from their marriage and now, they were physically apart. They hadn’t been happy for a while. Adam suggested an open marriage but it was not necessarily to save their marriage. He wanted to keep his family man image for his political look with the freedom of spending time with other women. Hazel did not agree to the proposal. She said, “I couldn’t face a marriage of convenience, especially if it was at my inconvenience.” Deeply unhappy with the state of her marriage, she decided faith would be the only thing that could help.Learn and listen more: available on: can also find more information on our social media:
  • 4. They Saw Red

    Partial Transcript: After Hazel had married Congressman, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. her music career changed from late-night jazz to a more conservative, classical approach which proved to be very successful. Hazel said goodbye to 1945 and to her mother Alma but 1946 brought new life. On July 17th, Hazel gave birth to a son, Adam Clayton Powell The Third, or affectionately called, Skipper. She said, “My greatest thrill was the first time I saw Skipper.” Adam and Hazel were both very busy but they made sure they would be home on weekends. During the week, a housekeeper cared for their son. Skipper, later on, said, “They decided to try to have as normal a life as possible. (Dad) would be in Washington during the week at least January through May, and (Mom) would be traveling a lot but on Saturday and Sunday, we were going to be a family. And so wherever they were, the deal was they would have to get back to New York by Friday night.”The Powells were famous, being a celebrated and high-profile black power couple. However, behind closed doors, it was not easy, Hazel admitted, “We fought bitterly but loved each other deeply.” She confessed that she did think of ending her marriage in the first year. The constant pressure of everyday life, their bustling careers, and their public persona along with the death of her mother and a new baby were all so much for Hazel. She tried to repress her emotions which would eventually end with almost dire consequences. Along with all of her responsibilities and attention, she still dealt with constant racism. Learn and listen more: available on: can also find more information on our social media:
  • 3. Adam Clayton Powell Jr .

    Partial Transcript: By the 1940s, Hazel Scott was touring the country, known for her unique style of piano and singing, combining classical music with jazz. Her short film career was now cursed by Columbia Picture’s head Harry Cohn. “I have always been a very strong feminine creature,” Hazel said, “and to subdue me a very, very strong masculine creature is required.” Enter Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. He was born on Nov 29th, 1908. When his family moved from Connecticut to Harlem, he had his first brush with racism. The Powell family were mostly light-skinned of African, European and Native American ancestry. His lighter complexion did often lead to bullying, with one block of black children and another block of Italian and Irish children demanding to know if he was white or black. In order to survive, Adam became what people needed him to be, black in black crowds and white in white crowds. This chameleon-like adjustment was the beginning of his natural charisma that would make him a successful politician. Learn and listen more: available on: can also find more information on our social media:
  • 2. The Darling of Cafe Society

    Welcome to Who was she? Podcast. I am your host, Tara Jabbari. After a decade working in documentaries, marketing and all things digital media, I found that podcasting is a strong medium to share stories and after years of producing for others, I decided to start my own biographical podcast. Who was she? Podcast will focus on the stories of women throughout history that were active in the Baha’i Faith. This season is about an incredible and often overlooked talented musician, and activist, Hazel Scott.Learn and listen more: available on: can also find more information on our social media: