Eartha Kitt's daughter Kitt Shapiro appeared on Tamron Hall on Sept. 26, 2022 to discuss a viral TikTok in which she addressed the social media users and trolls who question whether she is the legendary actress, singer, and activist's biological daughter.
Shapiro is the daughter of Eartha, whose mother was Black and Cherokee and whose father was white, and John William McDonald, who was German and Irish. She shared a TikTok, titled "I am my mother, Eartha Kitts [sic], biological child," in July to address those who assert that Eartha couldn't have given birth to her and she must be adopted because she has fair skin and blond hair.
"It was in response to, ‘You can't possibly be her biological child. She obviously lied to you her entire life. And you were clearly adopted,'" Shapiro explained to Tamron Hall. "To which my response was, 'When do you think a Black woman could have adopted a white baby?' [...] Not in 1961, certainly not, and second of all, my father was this little white pasty, you know Irish, German-Irish as you can get."
Shapiro told Hall that she decided to speak publicly about people questioning her biological parentage because it happens more often than one would realize.
"As we all know, we've all been victims of some type of trolling or nastiness online and people, they just assume that because you don't – as I mentioned in the TikTok – look the way they think you should look, then you can't possibly be who you say you are," said Shapiro to Hall. "Now, my mother only had one child, and this is what she got."
She explained that this conversation comes up a lot on social media now that her mother has passed away, which prompted Hall to ask whether Eartha was worried about outsiders asserting Shapiro wasn't her daughter. Fortunately, Eartha, who Shapiro says was mistaken for the nanny or housekeeper at times, believed Shapiro's racial ambiguity was a positive.
"And she actually loved the fact that I was this, this mutt," said Shapiro, who is a mother of two. "She would say to me, 'You either break every rule or you fill every quota.' She said, 'You are a walking United Nation.'"
She continued, "And I truly think that, you know, she was proud. She was proud to be the parent of somebody that couldn't be easily identified, because she herself had been so stereotyped and so pigeon-holed because of her skin color, obviously. I am, to the other extreme, sometimes, you know, criticized because I'm not Black enough and I can't help the way that I was born.”
Shapiro shared photos of her and her mom from the family's personal albums during the interview, and it's obvious the mommy-daughter duo shared a special bond, one that Shapiro explored in her memoir, Eartha & Kitt: A Daughter's Love Story in Black and White.