Friday, December 26, 2008

My Weekend Crush

Eartha Kitt may have well been the reason the term “sex kitten” was invented. Slinky, sassy and oh-so seductive, Eartha's magnetic appeal was remarkable for its irrefutability. It's not that Eartha wasn't sexy, because, you know – duh. But in 1953, 11 years before the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 finally outlawed racial segregation in America, she teased us with what is still the sexiest Christmas song around: “Santa Baby.” And everyone, everyone, was powerless against her siren song. An accomplished singer, dancer, actress and all-around diva in the most pure and delicious sense of the word, Eartha succeeded through a a mixture of sheer charisma, raw talent and dogged determination (though, feline determination might be more accurate). That she is so indelibly linked with Catwoman after only appearing in three episodes of “Batman” is a testament to her captivating stage presence.

If it wasn't for her unvarnished voicing of the truth at a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson in 1968, she might have been an even bigger star. But instead chastising the government for sending young men to be shot and maimed in a war half-way around the world and sympathizing with those who rebelled in the streets in front of the First Lady and 50 other ladies who lunch got her blacklisted in the States for a decade. Still back she came and triumph she did, again. This woman born on a cotton plantation would not be denied her stardom. How could you deny it? So her passing yesterday on Christmas day, while – of course – terribly sad was also touched with the cosmic kismet of a performer who knows how to make an exit. Thanks for all the purrrfection, Eartha. Happy weekend, all.

10 comments:

Huggitis Brown said...

First James Brown in 2006, now her. Is it a new trend for revolutionary African-American performers to die on Christmas day or what ?
Very sad news, RIP.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making Ertha Kitt your WC. And thanks for the quick history lesson.

Odetta, Miriam Makeba, and Ertha all within 2 months. Sigh. Big losses in 2009

MoonMystic said...

That woman had sexy written all over her, didn't she? Her passing is a great loss.

Anonymous said...

I love that song 'Santa baby', but I never knew Eartha Kitt was the voice behind the song.

I'll defiantly put that on a mix-tape

imthey said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Eartha Kitt a few years ago and she did not disappoint... she was a Diva, but only in the best way! She was classy, had that magnificient voice of hers and a presence whereby you knew that you were standing in the room with a star!
She will be missed!

itsonlymagic said...

Now is one of these times when I wish I could time travel and dart around the past looking at people like this in their prime. She was one hell of a woman.

Pyewacket said...

I cannot fully put into words why I have liked Eartha Kitt so much for so long since my warm fuzzy for her and my feeling of connection to her comes from a place of a little girl who sat in front of the tv and watched this woman with such a strong and power presence in a show that was primarily fixated on male superheroes.

I will truly miss her bright light being here upon the earth.

Anonymous said...

I hate to quibble, but when she was born, literally in the middle of a cotton field, the land in North, South Carolina had been played out since before the Civil War. Her father was a poor white cotton farmer and her mother was a Negro hand on the leased property. The plantation economy had been dead from lousy agriculture practices and a reliance on the poor, white and black, to provide the labor for the backbreaking work. I've chopped cotton while working on a literacy program while in college and I'm here to tell you that it ain't no way to survive.

Also, Ms. Kitt's hometown is still a dump. She was right to get the hell out and not look back.

Thank you for your time,

A Charlestonian

Katherine Simon said...

Well chosen indeed.

not only but also said...

Thanks Ms Snarker for mentioning the passing of a great American. I had a crush on Eartha Kitt from when I first discovered her in my early teens (and realising that she was THAT Catwoman didn't do anything to quell the adolescent fires...). I decided yesterday I needed to add her to my I-pod (I only have her on vinyl) but was sad to see that, for its rows upon rows of pop, rock, dance, hip hop, urban groove and soul, my local bargain-bin CD warehouse didn't have a single Eartha Kitt offering. And yet she casts a long shadow over today's "performers". As Ms Kitt herself would have said "Grrrrooooowwwwllllll, baby!"