Stuff I Love: Eartha Kitt – I Want To Be Evil
R.I.P. Eartha Kitt – Actress, Singer, Dancer, Activist, Pop Culture Icon.
She was born Eartha Mae Keith in North, S.C., on Jan. 17, 1927. Ms. Kitt was the illegitimate child of a black Cherokee sharecropper mother and a white man about whom Ms. Kitt knew little (She claimed she was conceived of rape). Kitt worked in cotton fields and lived with a black family who, she said, abused her because she looked too white.
At 8 she was sent to live in Harlem with an aunt, Marnie Kitt, who Ms. Kitt came to believe was really her biological mother. Though she was given piano and dance lessons, Ms. Kitt would be beaten, run away and return. By her early teenage years she was working in a factory and sleeping in subways and on the roofs of unlocked buildings. (She would later become an advocate, through Unicef, on behalf of homeless children.)
Ms. Kitt scored her biggest hit in 30 years with â€œWhere Is My Manâ€ in 1984, the same year she was roundly criticized for touring South Africa. Ms. Kitt was typically unapologetic; the tour, she said, played to integrated audiences and helped build schools for black children. (read full story about Ms. Kitt’s life on the New York Times)