Winner of a 2012 National Edward R. Murrow Award: Studio 360’s “Secrets of a Blonde Bombshell,” about Ina Ray Hutton, who in the 1930s conducted, tapped, and sang as the “blonde bombshell bandleader,” strutting her stuff in front of her all–female swing band, the Melodears.
Ina led bands through the 1950s — in clubs, in movies, on TV, on the USO circuit — and was the first female bandleader to be recorded and filmed. She wasn’t a legend or an innovator, but a hard–working musician who played a role in jazz history.
Years later, a news reporter discovers Ina had a big secret: she was black and had been passing for white. More.
(Photo: Ina Ray Hutton in her teens. Courtesy of Susan Stordahl Porter)