Moms Mabley (given name, Loretta Mary Aiken) was born in Brevard, N.C. on this day (March 19) in 1894. She made history in 1939 when she became the first female comic to play Harlem’s Apollo Theater.
Mabley was one of the most successful entertainers to perform on the black vaudeville stage. Her comedy act tackled controversial subjects that other comedians avoided at the time, such as, racism, poverty, welfare, and alcohol. At 75 years old, Moms Mabley became the oldest living person ever to have a US Top 40 hit when her recording “Abraham, Martin and John” hit #35 in 1969.
In 2013, Mabley was the subject of Whoopi Goldberg Presents: Moms Mabley, a documentary film which aired on HBO. The documentary was nominated for two Emmy Awards: Outstanding Documentary and Outstanding Narrator for Whoopi Goldberg.
Moms Mabley was a comedic pioneer that broke racial and sexual boundaries and is an icon in the comedy world. Thank you Moms for paving the way!
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
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