The "Original Queen of Comedy," Moms Mabley, ironically had such a tragic past that it may be hard to imagine that someone who brought many people joy has gone through so much pain.
During the time Moms Mabley was a famous comedian, there were barely any black comedians, let alone women comedians at the time. She was a pioneer of her own, starting off with predominantly black audiences until she was able to get a huge following from the white community as well.
This ability of hers to make people happy, regardless of race, made her a comedic superstar that toured around the country for more than half a century.
However, while she made so many people laugh in her lifetime, she actually had such a traumatic past that it's hard to imagine that someone so happy had to go through all of that.
In the year 1894, Moms was born in North Carolina as "Loretta Mary Aiken." She was one of her parents' 16 children. Her great grandparents were slaves, and she would experience the hardships that come with that due to the way people treated her.
At 11, an older man sexually abused her, and only two years later, a white town sheriff did the same. She ended up getting pregnant both times, and eventually gave up her children when they were born.
Not long after, she would soon have to suffer the heartbreak of losing her parents. Her dad, who was a volunteer fireman, died during one of his rescue missions when the fire engine he was on exploded. Her mom was also killed while returning home on Christmas day when she was run over by a truck when she was walking home from church.
After all that she's been through at such a young age, Moms decided to flee her home at the age of 14. She used her tragic past as her motivation to live a better life.
She first began performing in a minstrel show and since then, worked her way up the entertainment ladder until she became one of the most iconic comedians in the game.
During the beginning of her career, she decided to change her name to Jackie Mabley after her brother said it was a disgrace for a woman to be in the entertainment business. She, later on, took on the moniker "Moms," which is a nickname given to her by comedians who looked up to her as a mother.
Moms first had a majority of black audiences when she would deliver jokes, as they catered to the black community and often revolved around stories on white people. By the 1960s, though, the white community discovered her talent and she hit it off with both races.
Aside from her career, Moms had three more children and adopted more kids. However, it is unclear if she ever married because she came out as a lesbian when she was 27-years-old. It is unclear where her children are now, but unfortunately, one of them had a problem with substance abuse that people found out about.
In 2013, Whoopi Goldberg hosted a documentary entitled "I Got Something To Tell You," which revolved around Moms' career. Goldberg wanted to pay tribute to Moms and introduce her to an audience that did not know of her legacy. The documentary included commentaries from Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers, Jerry Stiller, and Kathy Griffin. The documentary, which aired on HBO, tried to put together as much footage as possible on Moms' career and family.
While she had such a difficult early life, she proved that there's nothing you can't rise up from if you just put your mind and heart to it. At the age of 81, she passed away a legend in 1975.
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