H is for Ina Ray Hutton. Ina came from a show biz family. She started singing and dancing on stage at the age of 8. In 1934 she was asked to become the leader of an all-girl orchestra called The Melodears. The Melodears were one of the first all female music groups ever to be filmed for soundies. The group was also featured in several feature films. Here’s Ina and the Melodears performing “Truckin’.” I think you’ll agree, the woman had style!
My Beautiful Grandmother was pretty much convinced that every White person who was ever good at jazz was secretly Black. Well guess what folks, Ina Ray Hutton and her equally talented sister June Hutton, were indeed “passing” for White. I believe that somewhere up in heaven my grandmother is smiling the smile of the vindicated at today’s video.