Though the video was made in the 1950s (or maybe, because of the nature of the time period and its current echoes), it feels extraordinarily timely for 2018, when each year since the last election season has been worse than the year before it. This video shows Eartha Kitt at her best, a badass, skilled-as-hell Black woman who gives no fucks and wants to shake things up. This is the woman that spoke her truth and made the first lady cry. She was an unrepentant activist, spoke four languages and sang in seven, defined imo the best version of a classic comic character, and generally did whatever the hell she wanted and excelled at it.
I’ve found myself, lately, rooting for murderesses. I watched Alias Grace; I read Fingersmith; even the chilling Black Mirror episode “Crocodile,” featured a protagonist I had no business rooting for, but (spoilers!!) I did until she started really killing. Emma C. Eisenberg wrote a great essay for Lithub about a similar impulse she had, titled “The Bloody Catharsis of Femme Revenge:”
So I began to crave stories in which women and femmes were enraged, but more than this, I began to crave stories of revenge. Specifically stories in which women get revenge; specifically on men. Stories in which men were made to suffer in the same ways women and femmes have been suffering for all of time. It was no longer enough to be the bigger person. It was no longer enough to rise above. It was time to act.
It’s 2018, we’re sick of this, and we’re hungry for blood.
It’s not that I’m advocating for violence, of course. If you know me, you know I’m a softboi who hates the idea of hurting others. But this past year has engendered an undercurrent of seething, and I’m tired of keeping it to myself. I need to take this anger out of me and put it to good use. Like Eartha Kitt’s famous quote— “I have used all the manure that has been thrown on me, as fertilizer, to make me stronger” —2018 is the year I take her as a role-model. Throw mores and expectations out the window. Look out for yourself. Stop “rising above” (which takes you nowhere) and start pulling the rug out from under them.
I’m gonna do it, and you can too, with this no-holds-barred, take-no-fucks, and have-some-fun-doing-it playlist. ??????????
- Eartha Kitt – I Want to Be Evil
- Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me
- Rihanna – Needed Me
- Beyoncé; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – ***Flawless
- Nicki Minaj; Beyoncé – Feeling Myself
- Janelle Monáe; Erykah Badu – Q.U.E.E.N. [feat. Erykah Badu]
- Solange; Sampha – Don’t Touch My Hair
- Ms. Lauryn Hill;D’Angelo – Nothing Even Matters
- Dinah Washington – I Don’t Hurt Anymore
- Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
- Kehlani – Too Much
- Chavela Vargas – Soledad – Remastered
- Ma Rainey – Explaining the Blues
- Gladys Bentley – Wild Geese Blues
- Gaye Adegbalola – Queer Blues
- Meshell Ndegeocello – Good Day Bad
- Peggy Lee – Fever
- Bill Withers – Use Me
- Cherry Lee Mewis – Shame, Shame, Shame
- Norma Tanega – You’re Dead
- FKA twigs – Give Up
- Kanye West – On Sight