Eartha Kitt talks to Joe Jackson - a classic interview revisisted

Updated / Friday, 9 Feb 2018 16:42
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In The Joe Jackson Tapes Revisited, journalist Joe Jackson presents some of his noteworthy interviews, and this Sunday, it's singer, actress and activist Eartha Kitt.

Jackson’s 1987 interview with Eartha Kitt was one of his first major interviews.  A life-long fan of Kitt, he set out in particular to undo what he calls a "reductive representation of the woman" which appeared in an Irish newspaper only a few days before they met. It said, ‘the popular memory of Eartha Kitt is one of the gold-digging vamp, lying on a chaise lounge, dripping with jewellery, furs and the body furniture of paid for sex.' 

Having read her 1956 biography, Thursday’s Child, Jackson knew, he says, "There was far more to Kitt than that."

Watch: Eartha Kitt on The Late Late Show circa 1987, via RTÉ Archives:

In this programme, they discuss her sense of "not belonging" because she was born a mulatto, –– her mother’s lover said "I don’t want that yella gal in my house" outside marriage –– beaten and abused as a child, and about what she suspects was the murder of her mother Annie Mae. Kitt also addressed her public image.

The Joe Jackson Tapes Revisited: Eartha Kitt, RTÉ Radio One, Sunday February 11th @ 6pm.