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Comedian, writer, actress, tap dancer, and disability advocate Maysoon Zayid should have died the day she was born but somehow she survived. In her talk, “Survival of the Unfittest,” Maysoon uses humor to share her story and advice no one wants to here about how we can fix our broken world. Maysoon was born and raised in the great state of NJ and spent her summers in the Holy Land. She grew up oblivious to the reality that being brown, Muslim, disabled, Palestinian, and a girl would make her the target of hate, violence, bullying and discrimination as an adult. Raised by parents who taught her to think big, Maysoon dreamt of being on the legendary daytime soap opera, General Hospital. She soon realized that winning the minority Olympics was not a good thing in Hollywood. On air talent with visible disabilities were almost non existent in entertainment and broadcast news. The few times they did appear they were not people of color. Despite the odds being against her, Maysoon managed to become a happy, healthy, successful stand up comedian who sold out shows worldwide. Her clips online have millions of views. Maysoon has appeared in multiple films, documentaries, and TV shows but she remained on the Z-list, shunned by main stream media because she was an other. A lifelong tap dancer, Maysoon’s mantra is, “ Yes I cancan,” but fighting for equality for all not just for some often left her feeling run over in the intersection of intersectionality until she started cheering for herself. Its not easy being green but it definitely makes life more interesting. “Survival of the Unfittest,” will make you laugh and believe that together we cancan defeat the dark side and fix this broken world.
About the Speaker: Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, disability advocate, and writer. She is a graduate of Arizona State University and is the co-founder/co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and the Muslim Funny Fest. Maysoon was a full-time On Air Contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and a columnist for The Daily Beast. She has most recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey Networks In Deep Shift, 60 Minutes, and Huffington Post Live. She also had the number one TED Talk of 2014. As a professional comedian, Maysoon has performed in top New York clubs, and has toured extensively at home and abroad. She is a headliner on the Arabs Gone Wild Comedy Tour and The Muslims Are Coming Tour. Maysoon appeared alongside Adam Sandler in You Don’t with the Zohan and is the founder of Maysoon’s Kids, a scholarship and wellness program for disabled refugee children. Maysoon was delighted to be a 2013 honoree of United Cerebral Palsy NYC’s Women Who Care Awards and is honored to sit on the planning committee.
Music: bvd kult – Made Of Something (feat. Will Heggadon) [NCS Release]