Mayder Lor – How Hip-Hop Saved My Life


If you’ve been around the hip hop community here in the Midwest, even nationally you may already be familiar with Mayder Lor.  She has been around the community for some sometime. Starting in her youth exploring the world of breakdancing, then moving on to DJing, where she has performed all over and has since started to pass on her talent to youth here and over in Thailand. Here is a just snippet of the life of Mayder Lor.

Hmoodle: How did you get your start in b-girling and how did your family and friends react to it?

Mayder: I started breakin’ in elementary school back in the 90’s exposed to it by my older brothers, friends and cousins looking up to them and b-girl Asia 1 from Rock Steady Crew. I fell in love with it and learned little by little breakin’ wherever I could. In my kitchen, cousin’s basement, living room, etc. I would sneak around behind my parents’ back and eventually one day during the Hmong New Years night party when I was breakin’ my mom came and pulled my ear so hard out of the dance cypher. My parents told me that I couldn’t break anymore because I was a girl and that only gangsters break. Out of respect I listened to them and completely stopped. Therefor I never joined a crew and went on with life.

Hmoodle: What other activities were you involved in during your middle and high school year?

Mayder: In middle school and High School I joined cheerleading and gymnastics, but realized it just wasn’t for me. I was still a b-girl at heart. I am a tomboy and I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere so eventually I joined sports and competed competitively always placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Right before I graduated high school I was also dating a b-boy, but it didn’t go so well and I tried to take my own life. After a few hours of my suicidal attempt it was a complete fail and my father saved me when I wanted to die. He never found out my suicide attempt until January 2015.

Hmoodle: Any big name artists you were spinning and doing shows with and why did you took a break from DJ-ing?

Mayder: In 2002 when I went off to college I fell in love with DJ-ing and became the 1st Hmong Female Hip Hop DJ. I was spinning and doing shows with artists such as RARE, TouSaiKo Lee (Delicious Venom), Plucky, LP, David Yang and my biggest accomplishment was at a venue Stellar Park with DJ Qbert. I was DJ-ing everywhere in WI and MN with my crew CAUTION!ENTERTAINMENT.

After many years of DJ-ing and with the violence continuing I eventually took a break from it. Many of my close friends were stabbed, wounded and I couldn’t see myself going down six feet deep. I never quit, I slowed down on it. Now instead of DJ-ing at clubs I decided to turn everything around and began DJ-ing for middle school dances, Hmong New Years, weddings and started teaching others how to DJ. Now I felt safer and also gave back to the community.

Hmoodle: Can you tell us a little bit on how hip-hop saved you?

Mayder: When I was about twenty-five years old and after my 5+ year relationship ended I was completely lost. I didn’t know who I was as a person anymore. I had just gotten done being physically, mentally and emotionally abused so I was broken, depressed, and sensitive. One day I applied for a job working at a high school as a Program Leader where there was an after school program called “Breakdance Club.” This is what changed my life and where I tell everyone that Hip Hop saved me. I got the job right away as a Program Leader working as a Volleyball Coach, Basketball Coach, Breakin’ Instructor, Homework Club Leader, Equity Leadership Council Leader, Assistant Director and my most proud moment was making it all the way up there as a Co-Director working with the Youth.

Hmoodle: Looking back on life, how would you describe yourself now?

Mayder: Now at the age of thirty-two I feel like an unstoppable super human being, I won’t settle for less and ALWAYS work very hard organizing a large number of events to help positively elevate the community in many ways. If I’m not organizing Jams like Boom Bap Village (inside the July 4th MN Festival), Jam for Food (my project where we collect food for low income housing neighborhood families) and my newest Battle of the New Years in Fresno, CA, I am emceeing for numerous events all over across America. Not only that but I also mentor many artists and organizations such as Hmong Breakers Leadership Council, DeathRhyme, David Yang, Chardenai Vang and so many more just to name a few.

Hmoodle: Any big projects you are currently working on?

Mayder: Street Stops and Mountain Tops landed in my hands through all of the hard work that I’ve put into the Hip Hop community through organizing jams/showcases/events, mentoring, teaching, judging, emceeing, etc. I am one of the main organizers with TouSaiKo Lee in which we both already went to Thailand to teach Hip Hop at two of the orphanages during March of 2015. Now that we have made connections with them overseas we will be going there again December 2016 with other b-boys and crew mates to teach and perform with the children there. It was always my dream to go to Southeast Asia to teach and my dream came true thanks to my family and friends who believed in me and the project. Thank you and I love you all. It definitely changed me as a person and I’d like for this opportunity to help open more doors for other artists and people who see my vision.

Hmoodle: What are your biggest challenges during your stay in Thailand?

Mayder: My biggest challenge being out there in Thailand teaching the children was definitely the attachment and bond that we had, I didn’t want to leave them because that’s how close I got with them individually. Another thing was the fact that they didn’t have sneakers or shoes like I did. They played soccer and danced with their bare feet, therefore I did the same thing. What I loved and appreciated most was not having my electronics on me and just focusing on the children. I felt FREE!

We at Hmoodle are very happy to bring Mayder’s story to you. Life can bring you down, but its how you get back up that matters. We want to wish her the best of luck and support her in efforts to make our community a better place to live.

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