Whoopi Goldberg recently made her directorial debut at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. Her groundbreaking documentary, "I Got Somethin' To Tell You," is about the life of African-American and openly lesbian stand-up comic Moms Mabley, born Loretta Mary Aiken.
The North Carolina-born comedian graced stages such as New York City's Apollo Theatre and Carnegie Hall with her quirky acts touching on racism and romance between the 1920s and 1960s. Mabley came out in her late twenties and often made her sexuality a part of her routines.
She appeared in the 1933 film "The Emperor Jones" alongside Paul Robeson, which was inducted into the Library Of Congress' National Film Registry Library in 1999. Her wardrobe in the film was markedly androgynous, an unusual sight on a woman in the 1930s.
She was also referenced in the 1995 queer favorite "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar," starring Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo.
As AfterEllen.com notes, Goldberg wanted to do a stage show paying homage to Mabley, but she felt that the timing was off and she believed people had forgotten about her. Instead, she decided to make a documentary.
The screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival took place earlier this week, but if you missed it, don't worry. HBO picked up the historical film and will air it later on this year.