Friday, December 26, 2008

Eartha Kitt - An interviewer reflects on viewmagazine

I never thought she would take up the offer, but when the tannoy at BBC Radio went off, saying "David your guest, Eartha Kitt was here", I can't tell you how nervous I was.

What would she be like? Here was a strong, seen-it-all woman.

Born in Cotton fields to a family who would both give her up; her father, the son of a Slave Master, her mum a slave.

But that's not the lingering thought I had as I went to reception to greet her. It was her body of work, the cabaret cum night club singer, most famously that smouldering belgian-chocolate voice.

Eartha Kitt was the seductress, the cat woman literally, that takes no interviewer a prisoner, particularly if you ask the "wrong" question.

I'd interviewed other woman much like her:
  • from South Africa, the Madonna of Africa Brenda Fassie.
  • Diva Grace Jones
  • Fabulous author Thulani Davis, "1959"
But like most celebrities, what mood would she be in?

Her publicist urged against issues on race, and definitely no getting her to do the cat sound.

As interviews go, this was one of my most memorable. Eartha was warm, charming, and delightful.

As I walked her back to her car, she looped her hand through my arm and continued to converse about "race and politics".

I only met her briefly, but like many of her fans, I too muttered: OMG Eartha Kitt - how sad.

You can hear a 4 min segment of the interview on he front page of

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