Happy Birthday Moms Mabley

By Jami Smith

Originally published on Advocate.com March 20 2014 12:17 PM ET

It seems fitting that Moms Mabley's birthday (March 19) would fall during what would later become Women's History Month because she was the very first woman to make a living as a comedian. And she didn't do it by playing safe.

Disguised as a "frumpy grandma" in a house coat and floppy hat, Mabley was able to get away with taboo topics like racism and sexuality that other comedians of the time wouldn't dare touch. Mabley was also a lesbian and would often wear men's suits as a sharp contrast to her onstage persona. 

Her life and work have been forever cannonized in a recent HBO documentary directed by Whoopi Goldberg. Today,we take the time to honor someone who didn't earn enough credit during her lifetime. Happy belated birthday to you, Moms Mabley. 

Watch a snippet from Goldberg's documentary:

Jami Smith