Thursday, February 14, 2008


I watched the Grammys the other day and as usual, I was not impressed. I guess its age, maybe it’s my changing taste in music but regardless of the reasons I really wasn’t moved. There were a few high points when seeing the legends walk across the stage or perform. I mean who can’t get a little excited when you see The Artist; PRINCE with his androgynous, booty crack showing, high heal, pressed, flipped and rag tied back cheveux ass. I LOVE HIM!! Then you get one of his running buddies, THE TIME blaze the stage and all you can see are my Purple Pin-Stripe Jeans and Commander Salamander Purple shirt with the Members Only matching jacket and pink tie. OH MY GOD I was so Purple Rain. It was also the lowest level in my fashion sense, until I was saved by my girlfriend. She was a Rhythm Nation follower and if I wanted some, I had to get on board for my Passport to save the World in my Black on Black on Black wearing a Black Cap.

The Grammys were all about giving recognition to those that had come before. I like shows like that because you get to see Entertainers that entertained. None of the flash, special effects, the magazines and gossip, it was either you had the talent or you didn’t. I recall reading an article about how the current pool of entertainers today are passing out and checking into hospitals due to exhaustion after doing a few concerts. Comparing that to the artist of the past that would sing, dance, write music along the way, do interviews, etc and would not rest until their 20 to 50 city tour was over. Granted many experimented with drugs along the way, but many did not and continue to perform today. I look at Tina Turner performing with (Floor Crawling, Stair Falling, Wig Wearing, Country Girl Talking) Bouncey and I said to myself, “This woman is holding her own with this young girl and she is as old as my grandmother.” The fact that Tina Turner and many of the legends on the Grammys are still at the top of they "GAME" and the kids today are complaining about colds and stress and headache, I just shake my head. Tina showed the type of energy and professionalism from a woman that toured the Entire Country and then some and gave you SHAME to all the children. Proud Mary never looked so good when you see that the young ones need to go back and do some serious study, the same type of study Barry Gordy made every signed artist at MOTOWN do. I would ever make the Rappers today study under the Old Skool talents so that they would understand the real power of the CRAFT and stop calling it THE GAME.

So let me get to why I am writing this new Blog entry (since my past Blog commenters made mention I make them read too much), during the Grammys, I saw many legends from The Beatles to Aretha Franklin (P.S. Can someone do an intervention for her because she looks like she needs a few dozen enemas, some suction and Jenny) but I never see mentioned in Music, Film, Theater or Dancing circles another woman that has not only paved the way for many Black Entertainers but has posted and sacrificed her citizenship during the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s. This woman is Eartha Kitt. Her longevity in entertainment extends five decades and she is still going strong. Around this time of the year (BLACK HISTORY MONTH) its seen that we always go the same icons like Lena Horne, Besse Smith, Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Dion Warwick, Nancy Wilson just to name a few. I often throw in names like Pearl Bailey and Earth Kitt when talking about the grand divas of the past and I either get, “WHO?” or “OH YEAH I FORGOT ABOUT HER” which is so sad because Pearl and Eartha has contributed to the Black struggle for acceptance and or American Change than all the other women mentioned.

Earth Kitt, if you really look at her life closely, started out as a tragic figure coming from a hard Southern upbringing and had consistently over come barriers to become an INTERNATIONAL STAR. I had the opportunity to see one of her shows and I was blown away. I remember in that concert she ended her show singing acappella, a song in a foreign language, which after a few minutes we (it was a double date) found out was German. Then Eartha switched languages in the middle of the song to Japanese, then to Swahili, then to Portuguese then to Spanish, then French and then to ENGLISH. Once the English hit, so did the music and the song became recognizable. The song was, LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER. I was blown away. Come to find out later, Eartha Kitt speaks 15 Languages Fluently. During the concert at THE CAFÉ CARLYLE in New York (a place she performs regularly for years) she came to my table while singing and extended a champagne glass, without missing a beat we poured Eartha a glass of the bubbly while she sang a tune about loving CHAMPAGNE. When we told her that one of our sitting party was having a birthday, she came back over and did a Sex Kitten version of Happy Birthday in French with a leg thrown over his shoulder in fishnets and high heals. The rest of the evening we kept calling him MARCUS. For those who have not seen Eddie Murphy’s BOOMERANG, it’s an inside joke.

Looking at Eartha’s life, she was abandoned by her family for being a Bi-racial child of the South, struggled as a dancer in Harlem, worked her way into the limelight to become a dancer and then a recording artist, actress of stage, then film and television. Eartha won awards and had become the standard for CATWOMAN that not ever Oscar Winner ( HA HA HA) Halle Berry couldn’t match.

Eartha was Black Listed in 1968 in the United States for speaking out against the treatment of Blacks during the Civil Rights era and Vietnam at Lady Bird Johnson’s First Lady’s Brunch at the White House. Eartha made known that as WOMEN and as a BLACK WOMAN she could not just sit and eat like the Rich and the Wealthy and pretend that the NATION wasn’t on fire with racism and war and as a First Lady it should be on her conscious to not pretend either. After that moment, Eartha had to live in Europe just to make a living.

I won’t go on and on with Eartha Kitt but I will say, look up her biography, she truly is a SOUL we need to remember and include in that list of BLACK PIONEERS and ENTERTAINERS. As far as I am concerned, she should have been on the stage at the Grammys as well. SHYT!!! They had Little Richard, Wooooooooooo !!

Musical interlude in a film with Sydney Poitier and Eartha Kitt

One of the best Video Biographies on Eartha Kitt.


One Man’s Opinion said...

First off, don't say negative stuff about Aretha....I'll cut ya. Second, you are so right about the icons that are over looked, that played a big part in paving the way for those that followed. I use to love Eartha Kitt. She was the only cat woman for me. And, of course, her version of "Santa Baby" is a clasic. LOL.

Rodney said...

Eartha is definitely THE BUSINESS and Pearlie Mae is my girl! I trekked to Philly for her homegoing.