By Bobbee Denise
Loretta Mary Aiken, known by her stage name Jackie "Moms" Mabley, was an American standup comedian. A pioneer of stand-up comedy. She was an influence on Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, and Whoopi Goldberg who profiled her in a 2013 documentary. Her career lasted for over 5 decades.
At a very young age she lost her father to a fire and just months later her mother was killed being hit by a car. She was raped twice before the age of 15, pregnant twice but was forced to give both of her children away. She ran away from home, moved to Cleveland where she was discovered by a traveling vaudeville group. She performed on the "Chitlin Circuit" which is where black performers displayed their talents during the Jim Crow Era. She modeled her stage character after her great-grandmother and her voice made any line funny, during her raunchy humor.
She became the first female comedian to appear at the Apollo. She would later go on to earn up to $10,000 a week at the height of her career." 'Ain't nothin' an old man can do for me but bring me a message from a young man" - Moms Mabley's signature line.