Wondering today about heroes and I looked to Eartha Kitt.

Listening to Eartha Kitt I was struck by an act of generosity bestowed upon me by a man who I admire. This man has lived a life that I can not imagine. There was something that brought me to the life of Eartha Kitt. Reading about her life I realized why she was such an icon to Gay Men in the 60’s and 70’s. She was such a rebel and came from such a strange and tormented beginning.

There are so many elements that I can identify with as read the life and history of this beautiful and passionate woman and I mused and was inspired by the generosity of the man who took me to dinner last night.

Heroes - Acceptance - Rebellion -♥- Awaken Studio Toronto

Heroes – Acceptance – Rebellion -♥- Awaken Studio Toronto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born in 1927 in a rural and poverty laden environment Kitt must have wondered what it was like to fit in and as well know the absolute and horrid bluntness of being rejected.

 

The particular element that stood out and had me in tears over my coffee was this quote:

“In a 1992 interview with Dr. Anthony Clare,  Kitt spoke about her gay following, saying:

We’re all rejected people, we know what it is to be refused, we know what it is to be oppressed, depressed, and then, accused, and I am very much cognizant of that feeling. Nothing in the world is more painful than rejection. I am a rejected, oppressed person, and so I understand them, as best as I can, even though I am a heterosexual.”

The part of this quote that rang out to me was of course the opening and my total identification with rejection. I do know what it is like to be refused. I also can identify as the man who took me to dinner last night was a man who had been “accused”, accused of a sexuality that was at that time rejected. I could identify and be very empathic as there have been certainly points in my life where I was “accused: for being gay, a homosexual. The part where I identify more though is is the deep and resounding rejection I often feel from the “culture” establishment that surrounds me and the corporate culture that I totally believe robs each individual of their humanity.

All the more reason to simply be me. All the more reason to take a stand and hold forth for what I believe is the calling of humanity.

TOUJOUR GAI From the Broadway Show “Shinbone Alley” (1957) (Joe Darion / George Kleinsinger) Eartha Kitt (Broadway Production) – 1957 Tammy Grimes (TV Production) – 1960 Carol Channing (Animated Film Production) – 1971

TOUJOUR GAI From the Broadway Show "Shinbone Alley" (1957) (Joe Darion / George Kleinsinger) Eartha Kitt (Broadway Production) - 1957 Tammy Grimes (TV Production) - 1960 Carol Channing (Animated Film Production) - 1971 
My youth I shall never forget 
But there's nothing I really regret 
The years I have poured down the drain 
Have sparkled like gold in champagne 

It's cheerio my dearrio 
Prance and pirouette 
It's cheerio my dearrio 
There's a life in me yet 
Toujour gai, toujour gai, toujour gai, toujour gai 
Toujour gai, toujour gai, toujour gai 
I sing all my troubles away 

I don't care to cry with a king 
But with any old beggar I'll sing 
I'll dance in the sun or the shade 
To any old tune that is played 
I'll sing 'neath a bleary-eyed moon 
A rowdy and rollicking tune 
But no time for sleeping have I 
I'll sleep long enough when I die 

It's cheerio my dearrio 
Prance and pirouette 
It's cheerio my dearrio 
There's a life in me yet 
Toujour gai, toujour gai, toujour gai, toujour gai 
Toujour gai, toujour gai, toujour gai 
I'll sing away my troubles 
They'll vanish like bubbles 
I'll sing all my troubles away 
Toujour gai, toujour gai, toujour gai 
(Toujour gai, toujour gai, toujour gai) 

(Transcribed by Monique Adriaansen & Mel Priddle - April 2005)

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