March 7, 2015
It wouldn’t have been the roaring twenties in the United States without a Gouyaveman. Born March 7, 1900, Grenadian Leslie Arthur Julien Hutchinson was one of the biggest cabaret stars in the world during the 1920 – 30s. Better known as “Hutch”, he was one of the voices that made the 1920s become known as the ‘roaring 20s’.
Hutchinson took piano lessons as a child in Grenada before moving to New York City as a teenager. He later abandoned his interest in studying medicine and began playing the piano and singing in bars.
Hutch joined a black band led by Henry “Broadway” Jones in New York City that played for white aristocrats and millionaires, such as the Vanderbilts. He was targeted by racists such as Ku Klux Klan for his visibility and fame. Like many African Americans stars of the era, Hutch left the US for Europe in 1924 as a ‘shelter’ to racism.
According to wikipedia, quoting Michael Thornton inThe Royal Gigolo (2008):
He bought a Rolls-Royce, a grand house in Hampstead, patronised London’s best tailors, spoke five or six languages and was on friendly terms with the Prince of Wales. But he was still a black man in an era of racial discrimination. When he entertained at lavish Mayfair parties, his fee was large, but he was often obliged to go in by the servants’ entrance. This embittered him.