Hazel Rosetta Smith

A Lioness who Loves to Roar

Born in Bedford Stuyvesant, raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY. Public school education began at P.S. 127 in Bensonhurst, Walt Whitman Jr. High School in Flatbush and graduation from West Babylon High School in Babylon, on Long Island, NY.

Singing and dancing was her passion at the age of six. Her sister Joan persuaded her parents to send her baby sister to audition at the Black Children’s Performing Arts Academy, operated by Brooklyn’s popular entertainer, Duke Baldwin. The success of Baldwin’s touring company of talented children of all ages throughout the five boroughs of New York opened the door for Hazel to perform on the newly created Radio/TV program THE CHILDREN’S HOUR, sponsored by Horn & Hardart Restaurants. She grew into a talented teen with numerous performance opportunities and an innate gift of writing.

Hazel studied journalism, speech and drama at Columbia University, NYC. Further theatrical training consisted of acting, playwriting, direction and set design at Herbert Berghof (HB) Studios, NYC; ten years of theater training and onstage performances under the tutelage of the renowned director Ernie McClintock at Harlem’s Afro-American Repertory Ensemble Company.

In addition, Hazel studied acting under the guidance of the great actress Frances Foster at the Double Image Theater Company, NYC, while writing and performing with DITC Humanities Acting Ensemble.

Hazel’s speaking voice received rave reviews for ten years as the onstage/narrator of the popular gospel musical “Mama I Want to Sing” in New York City and on tour in Europe and Asia.

As a playwright, she has written and directed five plays: “Time for Coming Out: Unity in the Community”, “Miss Hazel’s House of Heavenly Rest,” “To You, Mr. Hughes,” two gospel musical productions, “Tell-It, Sing-It, Shout-It: The Sisters Speak!” and “The Flip Side of the Coin: The Brothers Speak!”

Hazel Rosetta Smith is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of HSTM, Help Somebody Theatrical Ministries, which produces special events & concerts. Her presentation of Cotillions and Beautillions for charities were highly sought after for thirty years. For ten years Hazel produced an annual formal Ball titled “RHAPSODY IN BLUE” to raise financial aid for college-bound students. For ten years, she contracted a gospel concert tour titled a “Harlem Christmas in Vienna, Austria.”

As a reporter, Hazel was a contributing scribe for the Big Red Newspaper, owner Bill Underwood since the early 70s. She worked in the Editorial department of Forbes Magazine, owner Malcolm Forbes for six years. When Big Red Newspaper was purchased and renamed the New York Beacon News in 1985 by Walter Smith, Hazel joined the staff and ultimately became both Woman’s Editor and Managing Editor of the forty-page weekly newspaper. She created a first of its kind, 7-page pull-out section titled “Wednesday’s Woman” with a focus on African American woman on the move. She retired from the New York Beacon in 2002, however, continues to submit articles as a contributing scribe.

HRS (Hazel Rosetta Speaks) is the guiding force of her written words. Her column PONDER THIS! is published in the Harlem Community Newspapers, Inc. owned by Pat Stevenson, which has a weekly distribution throughout four of New York’s five boroughs.

Hazel has been a recipient of numerous and varied honors, which include a: Private Sector Presidential Award for Community Service from President Ronald Reagan (1985). Her intergenerational workshops titled “Becoming the Person You can Be” were conducted throughout the five boroughs of New York to promote respect and bonding between seniors and youth for unity in the Black communities.

Twice elected Manhattan Borough President, C. Virginia Fields presented two proclamations for Hazel’s outstanding media coverage of Black women on the move and motivational community service; NY State Senator/NY Governor David Paterson and Congressman Charles Rangel presented citations for outstanding media coverage of community concerns.

Among numerous additional awards: The Riverside Club of The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. presented their highest, the “Sojourner Truth” in 2007. D. G. Wilson Davis, Founder & CEO of SPIRIT OF HOPE, Inc., an organization of cancer survivors making a difference, presented their “Dove of Hope” in 2009 for Hazel’s outstanding support of their programs and her unique presentation of annual thematic Galas featuring cancer survivors.

Among the acknowledgements of her years of service, there is one honor that stands closest to her heart. In 2002, the Rev. Dr. Calvin Otis Butts, III presented an Honorary Doctorate of Victorious Living to Hazel Rosetta Smith from the Abyssinian Baptist Church.

May the Work I Do Speak for Me!