Eartha Kitt – The Beyoncé of Her Time

Eartha Kitt, best known for her recordings of “C’est Si Bon” and “Santa Baby,” was the Beyoncé of her day. Eartha Kitt was born on a plantation in South Carolina until she and her mother moved off the plantation and settled in New York. Upon her arrival in New York, her show-business career began to take off and soon she was appearing in film, theater, cabaret, music and television.  Her initial career began with her starring role in Dr. Faustus and continued to her most renowned role in the television version of Batman as her role of Catwoman. The younger generation typically remember Eartha Kitt for her role as YZMA in the Disney movie, Emperor’s New Groove.

However aside from all of her success in film Eartha Kitt is most notably recognized for her role as an activist and social speaker. It was her position on the Vietnam War that caused her blacklist from the professional community, which transpired during her visit at the White House during President Johnson term. Eartha Kitt’s opinion on the Vietnam War is as follows: 

“The children of America are not rebelling for no reason. They are not hippies for no reason at all. We don’t have what we have on Sunset Blvd. for no reason. They are rebelling against something. There are so many things burning the people of this country, particularly mothers. They feel they are going to raise sons-and I know what it’s life, and you have children of your own, Mrs. Johnson- we raise children and send them to war.”

After her statement on the Vietnam War finding work within the United States became challenging and limited, causing her to network outside of the United States to find work.

For more information on African American Women in History please visit the Rebecca Crown Library.


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