Fresh Black Girls: Eartha Kitt!
If not for my chronic procrastination and Eartha Kitt’s obvious status as a Fresh Black Girl, I would have honored her well before her passing on Christmas Day at the age of 81. She’s always been one of my favorite entertainers because she seriously resembles my grandmother, whose non-celebrity freshness knows no bounds. But it’s particularly fitting that I never felt pressed to mention how much we should all kind of want to be like Eartha, considering she was hotter as a senior citizen than most of us were during our early twenties, and easily has more talent in one of her sizzling gams than say, Beyonce, has in her entire Master Cleansed body. Not to slight the young ladies of today, but none of them do it like Eartha Kitt. Her unique voice and overwhelming charisma let her cut a path through the entertainment world that few will ever be able to follow. This is a woman who was born on a plantation in South Carolina, went on to be one of the first black women on television through her role as Catwoman in Batman, and didn’t stop commanding audiences for her singing and stagework until the day she died. She even had a famous altercation with the Johnson administration, speaking out against the Vietnam war during a White House luncheon, back-talk that promptly earned her a spot on the Hollywood blacklist. Miss Kitt was bad, and her’s is a fantastic black American story.
Coincidentally, I caught her guest starring on a 1995 episode of Living Single playing a character similar to the frightening seductress Lady Eloise in 1992’s Boomerang. Can you imagine knowing that you’re inherently more fly than Robin Givens, yet still playing the role of an older woman on the prowl? Am I weird for incessantly repeating “Maaaah-cus Dahhhling” whenever I rock my mother’s mink stole? Check out this clip to remind yourself how it’s supposed to be done: