ABWW Heroine of the Day: Jackie “Moms” Mabley


Jackie “Moms” Mabley (March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975) was an American standup comedian and a pioneer of the so-called “Chitlin’ Circuit” of African-American vaudeville. Moms Mabley was born Loretta Mary Aiken into a large family of twelve children in Brevard, North Carolina in 1894. Her father, James P. Aiken, owned and operated several businesses while her mother, Mary, kept home and took in boarders. Her father died a sudden accidental death when she was eleven. By the age of fifteen Mabley had reportedly been raped twice and had two children that were given up for adoption. After being pressured by her stepfather to marry a much older man [citation needed] and encouraged by her grandmother to strike out on her own, she ran away to Cleveland, Ohio with a traveling minstrel show where she began singing and entertaining.

She took her stage name, Jackie Mabley, from an early boyfriend, commenting to Ebony in a 1970s interview that he’d taken so much from her, it was the least she could do to take his name. Later she became known as “Moms” because she was indeed a “Mom” to many other comedians on the circuit in the 1950s and 60s. She was one of the top women doing stand-up in her heyday, and recorded more than 20 albums of comedy routines. She appeared in movies, on television, and in clubs.

Mabley was billed as “The Funniest Woman in the World”, and she tackled topics too edgy for many other comics of the time, including racism, one of her regular themes was her romantic interest in handsome young men rather than old “washed-up geezers”, and regularly got away with it courtesy of her on stage persona where she appeared as a toothless, bedraggled woman in a house dress and floppy hat. She added the occasional satirical song to her jokes; her version of “Abraham, Martin and John” hit #35 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1969. At 75 years of age, Moms Mabley became the oldest person ever to have a US Top 40 hit.

Mabley was one of the most successful entertainers of the Chitlin’ circuit, earning US$10,000 a week at Harlem’s Apollo Theater at the height of her career. She made her New York City debut at Connie’s Inn in Harlem. In the 1960s, she become known to a wider white audience, playing Carnegie Hall in 1962, and making a number of mainstream TV appearances.Mabley died in White Plains, New York from heart failure.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

scientia sexualis

Naso magister erat.

Whatever

THIS MACHINE MOCKS FASCISTS

eatlivewear.wordpress.com/

Vegan. Gluten Free. Lactose Free. Sugar Free. Saying "NO" to Pharmaceutical Meds. Low Glycemic. Lovin' On - Ayurveda. Herbcraft. Fashion. Music. Art & The Good Life.

Olivia A. Cole

Author. Blogger. Bigmouth.

Phillis Remastered

The Original Down Home Critic

Anibundel

(I Should Have Been A Blogger)

tressiemc

some of us are brave

Media Diversified

Analysis. Stories. Aesthetics. By and from the diaspora.

Lair of the Queer Black Girl

Just your (not-so) friendly neighborhood anti-racist killjoy.

Freedom Hall

We are students for the information that was left out

Betzwood Film Archive

A digital history project bringing to life the Betzwood Film Studios of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. From the Archives of Montgomery County Community College

In America

- You Define America What Defines You

SHANTOLOGY

shantrelleplewis.com

MCNY Blog: New York Stories

Iconic photos of a changing city, and commentary on our Collections & Exhibitions from the crew at MCNY.org

Chronicles of Harriet

The Very BEST in Afrofuturism and Black Speculative Fiction!

CoolBlkPpl

We Real Cool

NewsFeed

Breaking news and updates from Time.com. News pictures, video, Twitter trends.

%d bloggers like this: