My first memory of Earth Kitt was seeing a live performance of Timbuktu! when I was probably just 8 or 9 years old. I remember the thunderous applause when she spoke in her trademark voice from behind stage and how the crowd leaped to their feet when she entered the stage.
Over the years, I did not take the time to learn much about her but always knew she was another of our great talents that chose to spend time in Europe instead of deal the the racism here.
I'll be reading up on her today?
From the web:
Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died, a family spokesman said. She was 81.
Kitt was plainspoken about causes she believed in. Her anti-war comments at the White House came as she attended a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson.
"You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed," she told the group of about 50 women. "They rebel in the street. They don't want to go to school because they're going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam."
For four years afterward, Kitt performed almost exclusively overseas. She was investigated by the FBI and CIA, which allegedly found her to be foul-mouthed and promiscuous.
"The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth — in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth — you get your face slapped and you get put out of work," Kitt told Essence magazine two decades later.