1. Moms Mabley (Jackie Mabley), (born Loretta mary Aiken in Brevard NC), was a standup comedian and a pioneer of the so-called “Chitlin’ Circuit” of African-American vaudeville. 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 came out as a lesbian at the age of twenty-seven, becoming one of the first triple-X rated comedians on the comedy circuit.
During the 1920s and ’30s she appeared in androgynous clothing (as she did in the film version of Emperor Jones with Paul Robeson) and recorded several of her early “lesbian stand-up” routines, and was one of the top women doing stand-up in her heyday, eventually recording more than 20 albums of comedy routines. She appeared in movies, on television, and in clubs and performed at the Michigan Women’s Festival shortly before her death in 1975.
2. Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Rhythm and blues singer. Fats Domino and Professor Longhair were young Henry’s main influences while growing up. When Henry played in talent shows, he dressed like Longhair and wore a wig with braidson both sides.
His trademark croak, utilized to the maximum on his 1956 debut hit “Ain’t Got No Home,” earned Henry his nickname and jump-started a career that endures to this day. “(I Don’t Know Why) But I Do” and “You Always Hurt the One You Love”, both from 1961, were his other big hits.
Henry opened eighteen concerts for The Beatles across the U.S. and Canada in 1964, but his main source of income came from the Bourbon Street strip in New Orleans, where he played for nineteen years. His name could still draw hordes of tourists long after his hit-making days had ended.
Clarence Henry’s pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In April 2007, “Frogman” was honored for his contributions to Louisiana music with induction into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
3. Walter Jackson, Singer, In 1965 he hit the soul chart top 20 with “Suddenly I’m All Alone.” Walter Jackson was born in Pensacola, Florida. His parents moved to Detroit while he was still a baby.Walter contracted Polio very young, which meant the use of crutches. His schooling was at Northwestern High in Detroit but all he wanted to do was sing. He joined the Velvetones as lead singer..others members being Ronald Head, Neil Magby, Bobby Jones and a lady called Marion… The group recorded one record in 1959 without much success. After the group broke up Walter did cabaret work in local clubs. It was in one of thses that he came across Carl Davis who asked Walter to join him in Chicago to record. The first release in 1962 ‘I Don’t Want To Suffer’ only made a little noise, but got Walter noticed. Over the next few years nothing much happened, but the appearance of Curtis Mayfiled changed that. ‘That’s What Mama Said’ (answer song to Jan Bradley’s ‘Mama Didn’t Lie’) was their first try but both sides died. The next faired better ‘It’s All Over’ which, although not hitting the heights Stateswise, was a hit in Chicago and Detroit. More hits followed, this time at Okeh, they released 4 albums… which was not the usual in the early 60’s. Walter had always admitted he was a pop/MOR singer.. so finding the balance with Davis was never easy.
David left in 1965 and Ted Cooper took over Walter’s productions. The first release was a classic, ‘Uphill Climb To The Bottom’ in May 1966. More Cooper-produced songs followed. Walter even recorded a hit from Jimmy Radcliffe ‘My Ship is Coming In’ in 1967.. Things took a downhill slope after this.. with the record company fading and Walter moving to Epic, but without any success. A minor hit ended the 60’s..’Any Way That you Want Me’ on Cotillion.
In 1973 Walter rejoined Carl Davis with Brunswick Records, but after 2 lacklustre attempts he decided to take a break from the business. He returned in 1976 again pairing up with Davis who had started his own company Chi-Sound Records. Again, untypically, an album was released.’Feeling Good’ which was more the style Walter always craved to record, comprised of pop/soul covers. Other albums followed, and altho the theme of doing standards etc continued, there were some gems to be found. By the early 80’s the Chi-Sound company was fading but Davis persuaded Columbia to release one more album.. ‘Tell Me Where It Hurts’ in 1981.
4. Ruth Pointer, An R&B singer, best known for being the eldest member of The Pointer Sisters. Pointer was born in Oakland, California. She began her vocal training as a director of a junior choir in her father’s church. Marrying afterhigh school and having two children, Ruth was eventually convinced by her sisters to join their family group in December 1972.
5. De’aundre M. Bonds, actor. Appeared as a guest actor on television shows; however, he was also featured in the Spike Lee film “Get on the Bus” and the Rick Famuyiwa film “The Wood.”