Eartha Kitt (January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008) was an American singer, actress, dancer, activist, comedian and known for her highly distinctive singing style.
She began her career in 1942 and appeared in the 1945 original Broadway theatre production of the musical Carib Song. She had 6 US Top 30 hits and starred in the third and final season of the television series Batman as Catwoman in 1967. In 1968 she was invited to the White House along with 50 other women because of the work she had been doing with Aborigines in Australia, Canadian Indians & African American’s. Her career in America suffered after she made anti-war statements at a White House luncheon regarding the Vietnam War and young black American’s being killed in what was widely known as an unwinnable war.
Many artists, entertainers, athletes who use their platform to speak out against immoral situations have been and continue to be black balled and silenced. We must use our platforms, whatever they may be, to stand up for social justice and equality.
White House Luncheon: This is a short clip of Eartha Kitt and other prominent women who were invited by President Linden B. Johnson and The First Lady to speak on issues affecting young people in their community. Eartha Kitt’s question to Lady Bird Johnson did not go over well and her career was never the same after the infamous luncheon.
Backlisted: This is an interview with Eartha Kitt about being blacklisted in her own words.
Early Life: Here’s Eartha Kitt giving us insight into the struggles and obstacles during her childhood and early life.
One Of My Favourites: Here’s the classic Eartha Kitt song, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.
Reflection: One of the things I love about Eartha Kitt was her love of people and her candor. When she was asked for her opinion by Lady Bird Johnson about the problems with troubled youth in American communities, her response was in the form of a question. She asked the First Lady point blank, “What are we going to do about sending these Black kids overseas to be shot?” That was not the response they were expecting and the silence at the luncheon was deafening.
Eartha Kitt’s appearance at the luncheon is a harsh reminder and note to self, when some people ask you for your opinion, what they really want is for you to tell them what they want to hear.
Thank you Eartha Kitt for your honesty, dedication, sacrifice, perseverance and for standing up for what you believe and as well as those young men who were sent to Vietnam to die. You truly are an American icon and we treasure your contribution to music, theatre and social justice.
Albert Earl Jr.
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