May Lee-Yang

Playwright May Lee-Yang offers insights on the burdens placed on artists from underrepresented communities and how we can avoid (accidentally) censoring artmaking. The work of May Lee-Yang continues to reinforce her belief that art is a “safe way for people to enter into conversations about issues impacting our world.” She has long engaged underrepresented groups through her plays by providing free childcare at shows and accessible tickets. Her plays break language barriers between her actors and the audience, and she has a passion for engaging the Hmong Elder Center to participate in theater. Her Hmong-language version of Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman, truly engaged a multigenerational audience into the experience, using one of the most truthful genres — comedy. Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, she came to Minnesota as a child and has become one of the most recognized Hmong writers and performance artists in the Twin Cities. Using her keen sense of humor and experiences as a Hmong playwright, LeeYang will challenge all of us to take cultural narratives out of the box to let individuality shine through. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at