Five Questions For Freedom Fighter LHawj

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself - what you do, what you're about?

I'm an Artist Activist from St. Paul, Minnesota. I use writing, spoken word, hip hop and filmmaking as a tool to speak out about my personal struggles and social issues from a Hmong Lesbian Womyn perspective. I am an advocate for Hmong Queers where I work along side Shades of Yellow, the first ever Hmong LGBTQ Non-Profit Organization in the world. I also help out and attend community Art events, because that is the root to why my Art creation stays strong and forever growing.

On your MySpace page you have some information listed about a film you're working on to help create more discussion about the Hmong LGBTQQI community. What's going on with the film? Can people still contact you about it? Do you have a date in mind for when it will be finished?

I'm presently planning and looking for funds to produce my documentary on the Hmong Queer community. I've been researching and connecting with Hmong Queers nationwide who are interested in participating and contributing their stories and experiences. Being Hmong and Queer is still a fairly new issue within the Hmong community today even after when I came out in 2003. Like many other Hmong Queers' experience with their family, my mom told me that there isn't such a thing as a Hmong Gay or Lesbian and never have been throughout the Hmong history. So I was left thinking that I was the only Gay Hmong Girl in the world.

With this documentary I want to bring visibility, strength and unity with Hmong Queers and Allies from all over the world. I would like to introduce the existence of Hmong Queers, the struggles we've faced and the achievements we've come to grasp individually and as a group. I am planning to release the film in summer of 2011, because I have a few projects and collaborations with writing, hip hop and community organizing in the works as well. If anybody who has information pertaining to this topic and would like to share or have questions, they can contact me at or please feel free to pass the information around. Thank you.

Where do you hope to see Hmong artists in the next ten years and where do you think they'll actually be in ten years?

I hope to see more committed Hmong Artists creating, sharing and collaborating art with other Artists and the community. And for them to explore their Art and take it beyond what they imagined. As well as doing Art as a profession and definitely more Hmong Artist Activists. I know and understand that life gets hard, because work needs to be done, the bills needs to get paid and the family needs to be taken care of, but I also hope that the Artists themselves will be able to see that they can still find time to create Art on the side even if they are a mother, an accountant or drop out student. I do believe that Art saves lives and is an outlet to overcoming struggles and dealing with stress.

I think in the next 10 years, Hmong Artists will only grow bigger in population, taken their Art forms to the next levels and bring visibility and acknowledgement not just from within our Hmong community, but outside. What I've seen so far with my involvement in the Hmong Art community is that the handful of Hmong Artists now, who are actually committed and taking Art seriously, will be the ones setting up great examples of what one can succeed and accomplish with Art. They'll either be Community Organizing, performing at sold out venues, teaching Hmong Art in schools, hitting the Indie Film or Hollywood Entertainment world or taking over the fashion runway with Hmong inspired fashion. In one way or another, they'll be changing and contributing to history and the appreciation for Hmong Artists will grow deeper. The Hmong Artist movement within the next years to come will greatly be because of these wonderful Non-Profit Arts Organizations in St. Paul, Minnesota: Center for Hmong Arts and Talents (CHAT), In Progress and Paj Ntaub Voice, just to name a few. They are the ones who help nurture, enrich and expose Hmong Artists to furthering the Hmong Arts movement by providing tools, resources and space.

And your favorite Mighty Morphin Power Ranger is?

My favorite Power Ranger is the Green Ranger, because he was able to take his powers that were initially created to cause negative forces on the world and instead he turned it around to create positive forces. Well now on a cooler note, back then I was 13 years old and he was my favorite, because he had a badass green suit with a gold shield that was untouchable. And he would use his awesome gold/green dagger that sounded this empowering tune whenever he blows on it to summon his Dragonzord. And Dragonzord made the coolest Zord entrance ever from under the Sea. Hahaha! Plus I was such a huge martial artist lover and observer that the Green Ranger won my attention for having the coolest fight scenes.

Anything else?

Please check out the video on It's my first song collaborations with another fellow Hmong Artist, Oskar Ly. Be on the look out and check back, because we are working on more songs and Art projects!