A woman came up to me at a recent event and asked me that very question. Why don’t I look like my mother? Wow. Is that just another way of saying, ‘why is your skin color so much lighter?’ or ‘how is it you have blond hair?’.

My parents told me that when I was born, people came to the nursery in the hospital and would get into arguments when they saw that Eartha Kitt’s baby was a pudgy, white, girl.

Eartha Kitt and daughter, Kitt Now, I’m not looking to start a debate about genetics. I’m far from an expert, and really, who cares. (If you do, then I apologize for being so flippant, but, I didn’t choose my parents and can’t change the way I came out). I just find it interesting, that some people need an answer, even to a question that may not have a clear one.

I think my mother got a kick out of having a child who, at first glance, didn’t have any resemblance to her. She would tell me with great pride how I “…was like a walking United Nations. Belonging to everyone and no one at the same time.” Impossible to be put into just one category or descriptive column.

Why was that so important to her? As a light skinned African American in the South, in 1927, she was labeled a “Yella Gal”, too light to be accepted by the black community and too dark for the whites. And, as a person of color in the music business, there was the need to classify her as a ‘Jazz‘, ‘Gospel‘ or ‘Blues‘ singer. My mother didn’t understand  the need for pigeon-holing a person. She would ask, “Why was it so important to make a person feel like they weren’t wanted by anybody if they didn’t fit ‘required specifications’?”  “Why couldn’t an entertainer just BE who they were?” “Why wasn’t it enough to be a member of the human race?”

People have often asked me who do I relate to most? Meaning, how do I racially ‘categorize’ myself? Well, I took my mother’s words literally. I think of myself as ‘belonging’ just the way I am and check off numerous boxes or leave them all blank, depending on my mood, feeling confident that I can either fill numerous quotas or offend many, by my presence. That being said, I realize that my responses can be interpreted as simplistic or unrealistic. I guess it’s just wishful thinking on my part.

My mother loved reading me a story by Dr. Seuss called The Sneetches, about yellow creatures that had two distinct groups: plain belly and star belly. Through machines, the Sneetches continued to switch from plain to stars, until they were so mixed up, they could no longer tell each other apart and came to the conclusion that their need to be identified by their differences was both exhausting and unnecessary. Yet, another wonderful gift my mother gave me. I highly recommend reading this story and maybe we can all be wishful thinkers together. Then, there will be no need to answer stupid questions.

Remember • Treasure • Love

My mother’s wisdom continue to inspire me everyday which is why I created Simply Eartha ‘accessories that SAY something’. I now give voice to her words, and share them with you, her fans, old and new.My mother’s wisdom continue to inspire me every day.

60 Response Comments

  • Jerri  July 13, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    Love this post!
    Hugs and you are a delicious chip of goodness in a rather bland scone of this world!

    Reply
    • MICHAEL SHAFFER  September 23, 2017 at 12:37 PM

      Wow! What a delicious comment. LOVE it.!

      Reply
    • KIMBERLY DUARTE  December 1, 2017 at 12:47 PM

      I don’t rightly know Kitt I know being an African American young girl I did not see many beautiful interpretations of black woman untill your mother graced my TV screen. I guess I never saw her as a fair skinned black woman as that is what the Dorthy Dangridges and Lena Hornes were. I saw Eartha as someone I could really identify with as she was brown skinned to me and simply amazing with features like mine full nose and lips AND SHE was beautiful. Your mother is one of my hero’s unapologetically who she was. And I do believe we choose our parents so who ever don’t like it we give them the number one finger. Your mother continues to be an inspiration in a world where dark ones are told they are less then she was more then and she gave me no excuses. so Thank you

      Reply
  • Dawn Attebury  July 13, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    People always look at me crazy when I say my grandmother was half Haitian. I’m blonde headed and blue eyed.

    Reply
    • Jesse James G.  July 5, 2017 at 1:17 AM

      Listen, it’s okay. Not what rottened folks and folks with low IQs say in regards human beings. My WWI/WWII US Army veteran James Oliver Williams was not classified after his death. The US MD said, in the 70s, that he was not Caucasian nor Black/Colored/Negro. In this country, out of ignorance, they classified folks White or Negro in early 1900s and before. Well, my grandddady, my mother and some of her sibling were mullatoes on their birth certificates. Colored was used if you were in between being White or Negro. Well, as I educated myself, I found factional histories instead of non-factional histories of USA. My mom ‘Yella gal” looks aboriginal. Hmmmm. Anyway, as I dig for truths about matter, if you will. I am finding American history books filled with of packs of lies. ;[ If a group of children digest lead in their communities, you will get the same slow children regardless of the colors of their skin(s).]. Live on for you and your loved ones. View the show called “Jesse and Angela Love Show” on YouTube ,Free. And our love for you too.

      Reply
      • Aleta  September 23, 2017 at 8:05 AM

        If your still interested in reading “American” history, there’s a great book filled with amazing/horrifying truths and paints a clear picture of why we are where we are in terms of culture and race in this country. It’s called American Nations and I highly recommend!

        Reply
    • Willie  December 7, 2017 at 12:06 PM

      I think your beautiful. You had a wonderful mom. My grandfather would not put my grandmothers name on his birth certificate so he didn’t know her name but we knew he was Cherokee and where he was born. He took him from her off the reservation so he never knew who she was but he did knowwhere he came from.

      Reply
  • Brad Szollose  July 13, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Wow. Wonderful post Kitt. For some strange reason people have this need to put others in a box. I love the fact that you and your mom are “undefinable.”

    …and always keep em guessing.

    Reply
  • Alison  July 13, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    Kit, I love your post. It is oh so tiresome to be subjected to people’s other people’s notions of identifying yourself and justifying whom you see yourself as. My son is bi-ethnic and when he was a baby and through grade school, I was subjected to people asking “What is he?” and Are you his baby sitter?” His wife is from Belize and they have three sons who absolutely defy identification. They literally are the world. Even though I am an American with black skin, I revolted against filling in the box years ago. By the way you are just as beautiful as your mother.

    Reply
  • Klarisa  July 13, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I love this post. We are all human. What matters is that you were greatly loved. When people ask me what I’m mixed with I reply, “Pasta and garlic.”

    Reply
    • Lena Vee  December 2, 2015 at 4:52 PM

      I love this comment!

      Reply
  • Kathy Austin  July 13, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Who cares what you’re “mixed with”? A person is who they are by being who they are. All blood is the same other than type, all flesh is the same inside, all feelings are the same, they can get hurt. You and your Mom are both beautiful inside and out. No one should ever be put in a position to justify their looks. Rock on baby girl! Your Mom sure did! Hugs!

    Reply
  • phyllis press  July 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    you are as beautiful as your mother was and its all about love ,not color.She would be very proud of what you are doing and how a lovely family you have.

    Reply
  • Ebony  July 13, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Shake the haters. You’re beautiful.

    Reply
  • Steven Schapera  July 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Kitt, assuming the question deserves a reply, I would say “actually I look a LOT like my mother, but from the inside. We are both kind, gentle, generous , caring and talented. And we make others happy. But, just as humans cannit hear frequencies that many animals can, you may not see that.

    Reply
    • Caroline Surin  November 24, 2015 at 8:11 AM

      Love this!

      Reply
  • Latisha F.  July 13, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Thank You for this. I too have been asked that question “What are you ” and I look at people with confusion. I have also been ask “What are your children” and I’m still confused. If I had to categorize my self I am Creole American , so my children can range in color from darkest of brown to the lightest. I tell them they represent all cultures and they must respect and treat all people them same for they our family. I remember as a child I would hide my eye’s by wearing sunglasses so people would stare because my eyes are reddish brown and my hair is the same color and w/ dark brown skin. I would try to change how I looked to not stand out to avoid questions, but as an adult I don’t have those fears any more.

    Reply
  • Shamese  July 13, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    This is a great post, at the same that it is sad that it needs to be a topic.
    I have two daughters and my youngest looks nothing like me, but everything like her father who is mixed with black and white.
    My daughter looks as if i had her with a white man and if no one knew us, they would believe nothing else.
    At the end of the day, who cares anymore?! And honestly, I think it is pretty cool.

    Reply
  • LInda  July 13, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    If we could all follow your mom’s thinking, how much better the world would be.

    Reply
  • Numa  July 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    You actually do look a lot like your mother. People don’t want to see it because of your blonde hair but you have her features undoubtedly and a beautiful spirit to boot.

    Reply
    • Helena  June 2, 2016 at 11:07 AM

      Yes, you do look like your mother, especially around the eyes and mouth area.

      Reply
  • Dorothy  July 24, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Kitt, seeing a picture or two of your son truly shows how amazing DNA is. He clearly looks like one who is mixed with Sub Saharan African. Your daughter doesn’t appear that way. Genetics can surely be interesting.

    Reply
  • Adriana Tamayo  July 31, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    In my family we are a walking United Nations. Your Mother’s thinking was beautiful, who cares about color. It is the beauty from within a human that matters. Besides you have your Mother’s looks, inner beauty, and soul!

    Reply
  • Emma  February 24, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    Kitt you are beautifully blended. Ignore those who don’t understand. God Bless you and yours.

    Reply
  • Susan Fales-Hill  February 25, 2015 at 6:13 PM

    Great answer to an idiotic question. And was the woman blind? You DO look like your mother, just in a different shade. Brava and preach on!!

    Reply
  • Theresa R  May 27, 2015 at 1:27 AM

    You look just like her; their just to xxx to see it.
    She raised a wonderful daughter and she’s looking down purring like a cat and loving it.
    Keep up the great work

    Reply
  • Teresa  August 31, 2015 at 1:04 AM

    I’m sorry but you look exactly like your mother. Anyone that says differently needs to evolve a bit

    Reply
  • C.C. Benjamin  September 14, 2015 at 10:12 PM

    I too am a “high yell gal” who has a mixed race daughter. She looks exactly like me, just as you look like your mother. She however upon looking at her is assumed to be White and plenty of others have asked her the same question. It’s a shame that people need to KNOSW if she truly is mine or not. I can assure you that after 23 hours of labor, she was and IS 100% MINE! I am sure Eartha felt as I do, mind you business and just enjoy the beauty that is my child! Thanks for what you wrote it was beautiful

    Reply
  • Karenine chery  November 24, 2015 at 1:57 PM

    What a beautiful response to a stupid question.Those who believe in God knows our father created beautiful people of every color just like he created different kinds of flowers. It is about time they took off the section of race and ethnicity off the applications. Regardless of color of hair or language spoken, we are all human.

    Reply
  • Wayne  December 7, 2015 at 4:38 PM

    I blame your mom as the reason I am married to a beautiful black woman! Catwoman had a subliminal long lasting impression on a young caucasian boy!

    Reply
  • Diana  December 11, 2015 at 7:23 PM

    What are you? Such a awful question. I have 23 grandchildren all shades of stunning colors that God painted them because he loves different colors.

    Reply
  • Samantha  December 13, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Same thing my daughter and I experience all the time! Lol

    Reply
  • Mercy  December 17, 2015 at 10:10 AM

    But, I do see a resemblance. I really do. People are too caught up in color. We need to check ourselves before we get caught up in colorism.

    Reply
  • Jenny Ciardullo Tatusko  March 20, 2016 at 6:17 PM

    your picture of you and your mother and in the background as a silhouette of her which I framed remember me Jenny your mother would be very proud of you I’m sure she’s looking over you

    Reply
  • Vee Jay  June 7, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    I didn’t note when you wrote this article. The reason I found this page is because I was wondering why you didn’t look more like your mother. Not because of your skin or hair color. I know too many African Americans that look more African-European than you. I was struck by your features. They are not as striking as your mom’s. So I came here to see if you looked more like your dad and based on this picture you do. I understand genetics. I grew up listening to your mom and she is one of my heros. She showed me what a self confident, beautiful woman of color looked like. She inspired me. I loved her sassy persona and I love the fact that we are fellow Capricorns. Namaste.

    Reply
  • honee mikel  July 5, 2016 at 4:16 PM

    Hike it my name is honey I come from a long family Educators and Mulligans which is what they used to call your mother my grandmother my great-grandmother my great-great grandmother my great-grandmother whom had your mother before she fell ill and was taken from her she would speak of your mother towards the end of her life about how she loved her and how her siblings treated her,they would then do the same to her child who was much fairer then your mother with grey eyes we never knew how to contact you after my great great grandmother’s death many blessings to you and your family.

    Reply
  • cattrick  July 9, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    Beautiful story. Just had to show it to my son and daughter, who are both of dark complexion with blue and hazel eyes. They get tired of people asking them what race are they. They say “the human race,” idiot.

    Reply
  • Juanita Dale Slusher  July 14, 2016 at 5:15 PM

    My parents are both mixed, and I can remember as a kid the way I was treated versus the way some of my darker cousins were treated when we went out in and around the South growing up. Young men would treat me as if I were gold, but my cousins as if they were dirt. We as Blacks are quick to use color as a beauty standard. I am glad my parents always pointed out that skin color shouldn’r play a role in who I associated myself with. My upbringing plays a large role in my research.

    Reply
  • Gwendolyn Boyd Arnold  July 14, 2016 at 7:51 PM

    To Kitt.. have you tried to contact any family in North, SC. My mother (Pernell Washington Boyd) is related to the Kitt’s in that area or Orangeburg County (Santee, Eutawville, Eloree, and North). My mother always told us that we are related to Eartha Kitt. The last name has two spellings Kitt and Kitte because Ages ago the census would go to each home to count and record who was in the household but sometimes the spelling of families name would change. I would be glad to give any information that I have if interested..

    Reply
  • Alysha  July 17, 2016 at 6:13 PM

    I loved you on unsung. Your mom appeared to love you so much and you have a sweet soul.

    Reply
  • Kimberly  November 19, 2016 at 6:24 PM

    Kitt thanks for sharing your story. Your mom was absolutely fabulous. A real Grande Dame!

    Reply
  • Jacqueline  December 18, 2016 at 1:01 PM

    Skin tone is just a color, I think you definitely look like your mom based on facial features. I know Eartha felt that she was not loved by the black community, I wish she would have know that I was raised to accept her and all of her accomplishments. People can be ignorant especially being brainwashed by previously being enslaved. That can cause lasting effects over generations. People in the US are still color struck and teach this to other countries sadly. I hope people can care about life no matter if the person is Human or an animal, once that happens there will be no more racism of any kind.

    Reply
  • Kimmie  December 27, 2016 at 9:21 PM

    Most African Americans are multi racial (mostly Irish mixed with Africans in the 1800’s and 1900’s) so having a baby with a White person generally makes the kids whiter than they would be with any other group. No one should ever question whether someone should look different, but Americans are nosy as hell.

    Reply
  • Violet  March 20, 2017 at 1:45 PM

    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  • Jennifer  April 22, 2017 at 7:28 AM

    I remember seeing your mother in re-runs of Catwoman and then in Boomerang…that woman was ageless! And beautiful just as you are. People are funny when it comes to race and skin color. Don’t believe though that the “issues” only happen in the U.S. In spite of the changes and seeming acceptance of other people groups in countries like in Europe, there is still a great amount of disapproval and those “looks”. I am Hispanic and have recently learned my ethnic make-up is of nearly every continent on the earth. So as many before have said, I will (depending on mood) either check off every “race” or leave blank. I am nearly 40 and to this day, still get the stares or asked what are you. But then I remember, I live in the South where this is still normal. SMH. I wish this world would release their obsession and just live life. Accept people as people and judge their character instead.

    Reply
  • Maiya  May 1, 2017 at 12:39 PM

    This is my first time hearing of or actually laying eyes on you as the daughter of Eartha Kitt, as I wondered randomly if she’d had any children. I was surprised to see that she indeed birthed a daughter with no striking physical resemblance to her but still beautiful none the less. The fact that you are biracial has really nothing to do with the resemblance or lack thereof, just more of an observation. I think you look much more like your handsome father. Blessings to you and your family.

    Reply
  • Joshua Branch-Howell  May 31, 2017 at 3:01 PM

    Your mother was the most adorable, most talented, and most sexiest woman I have ever saw

    Reply
  • Cindy  July 4, 2017 at 8:53 AM

    I’ve always been fascinated by Eartha. Her personality and voice were truly unique. Both mother and daughter are beautiful, and more importantly, wise to what actually matters. Proof that a person can escape their childhood demons and become happy.

    Reply
  • Ashley Irene  July 10, 2017 at 8:48 PM

    This just goes to show you racism is just stupid we all should love one another that’s what God does he loves us all regardless of what color we are and so do I#be the change everyday I wake up and my goal before the day is over is to bless someone’s life black white brown purple I don’t care as long as I can make someone happy I’m happy God bless us all Amen ?

    Reply
  • J Myers  August 19, 2017 at 11:04 AM

    I understand the struggles of ‘race’ as my family is a mixed up bag of many different ‘races’. We cover several continents with African American, Scottish, English, Irish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and even South Korean in our family gene pool. Some of us you can tell, and other’s you can’t. It’s like Tom Hanks said it best in Forrest Gump, “Life (in our case, our genetic make-up) is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” Personally, I love the mixes we have in our family. It definitely makes for some interesting conversations when we all go out to eat in public and we get looks of folks trying to figure out how we’re all connected. 😀 Bottom line, embrace the irreplaceable and very unique you. There’s only one of you. Be blessed.

    Reply
  • Sharron duhon  August 30, 2017 at 9:04 PM

    I have a beautiful mixed race child and I tell him not to fall into ignorance I also tell him do not let ignorant people defined him by what they feel about what they think I feel mixed race individuals have the best of both worlds and my child is well rounded and not confuse and not unhappy like most people feel mixed race kids or everyone that is mixed race is not unhappy

    Reply
  • Sharron duhon  August 30, 2017 at 9:06 PM

    Mix race individuals have the best of both worlds don’t ever let ignorance defined who you are

    Reply
  • Frances Markiewicz  September 22, 2017 at 5:17 PM

    You have your Mother’s eyes. She was beautiful and so are you. Ignore stupid people. They talk and then think later.

    Reply
  • Naomi  September 24, 2017 at 10:09 PM

    I don’t know you read or response. I just want you to know you are amazing and beautiful. I love to read your post and want your mother taught you. Cant wait to meet you in person. When is you next meet and greet. People do ask stupid question. My are long they always attend to say it that your real hair, are you mix, what are you mix with.

    Reply
  • Jacquelynn Inyama  September 27, 2017 at 7:14 PM

    Inquiring minds need to know. I wish I could count the many remarks that my four sons don’t look alike. I was married to their father and they all belong to him. I have two brothers and two sisters, all of us have the same father, and we really don’t resemble one another. Like you said, I am not a genetics expert, but I know my blood family and it’s just some cosmic mystery that some people will let you know that they are confused by what they see. God stirs the pot, what he makes is his desire.

    Reply
  • Susan  September 28, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    What a lovely post! What a nice lesson your mom taught you and through you, us. Categorising people is so tiresome and boring.

    Reply
  • Truth  November 3, 2017 at 5:16 PM

    *I’m sorry, but just like your mother’s biological father was kept from her, your real mother was kept from you. Eartha pretended to have a baby that she didn’t actually have.. she adopted and pretended that she gave birth. It’s sad. There is nothing wrong with adoption, but lying and pretending is wrong!

    I’ve seen countless black women with half white children..and they look HALF white AND even if the child looks more like the white father..there are still traits from the mom.
    You can’t hide DNA and you can’t fake it.

    Your childhood pics are of a little WHITE girl..not a biracial girl.
    Heidi Klume is about as white as anyone can get and her mixed children look MIXED and LOOK LIKE HER. I think it was a disservice to you to lie to you. I also don’t know why Eartha felt she was Light-SKIN..she was brown and didn’t resemble anyone biracial.
    These pics show a completely WHITE child who looks absolutely nothing like Eartha Kitt.
    It’s one of the biggest lies ever told!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BaeOSzwnSDj/

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba6xrxWnmWk/

    Eartha had such a distinctive look, her biological child would look like her in SOME way. There’s absolutely no way anyone can believe that these pics of a white child, actually came from..[biologically] from Eartha Kitt. Sorry!

    Reply
  • Joy  November 24, 2017 at 2:30 AM

    Your mum was amazing. So confident, well spoken, talented. She’ll always be an inspiration

    Reply
  • Paul  November 24, 2017 at 11:21 AM

    Kitt,
    I am a fan of yours as well as of your mother for many, many years!
    I am stunned that someone named “Truth” could be so small-minded and could feel so empowered to make the judgment that you are not Eartha’s daughter. You are INDEED Eartha’s daughter… it is obvious that she taught you how to speak, how to appreciate the world, how to process your own and others’ thoughts…she spoke incessantly of you and loved you! This person “Truth” needs to rethink his or her words… once thrown out into the universe, they may come back to him/her… absolutely noone, including “Truth” benefits from these terrible comments which cause pain to the intended recipient as well as to anyone reading the comments, particularly just before the holidays when we all reminisce about our childhoods and the past. Shame, shame on you “Truth” for saying such unfounded, terrible things!

    Reply
  • Donna Euell  November 24, 2017 at 11:24 AM

    I’m sorry but you have your mothers eyes and her chin I’m married to a black man for almost 40 years both my grandchi8haveblack fathers and both the fathers are lighter skinned my grandson is darker than both his parents and my granddaughter is is lighter than I am we cannot control the DNA we receive from our parents but it is completely disrespectful to Ms Eartha Kitt to say her daughter was adopted when clearly she was not and the strong and outspoken woman she was the world would have known so to “truth” stop hating

    Reply

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