Biography: Maryum "May May" Ali
Maryum Ali, affectionately known as May May, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and is the eldest of Muhammad Ali’s nine children. As a little girl, her father asked her what she thought her purpose in life was and she replied, “I want to help people.” May May’s efforts to help people have manifested in a myriad of ways throughout her life.
She performed as a stand-up comedian for twelve years in venues across the country filling rooms with humor and insightful observations of social issues. As a regular performer at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, she worked alongside talents such as Jim Carey, Chris Rock, and Martin Lawrence. During that same time, she was also writing rap lyrics with plans of publishing her music.
In 1992, May May’s rap album, “The Introduction,” was released by Scottie Brother’s Records. She viewed music as a way to inspire youth to strive for their dreams despite challenges and hardships. But when the rap industry began focusing on music filled with violence and female exploitation, May May decided to find a more direct way of helping young people. Hence, she left show business and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. Degree in Social Work. While in college, May May worked as a trained Mediator for Clark County Social Services, Neighborhood Justice Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
May May has 15 years of experience in delinquency prevention and family development and has worked in many capacities in this field; from having direct practice experience with over 300 families to working as a Regional Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development in the City of Los Angeles. She is currently seeking private funding for the non-profit organization, DMTL, a gang prevention and youth development program that she co-founded with Nason Buchanan. (www.DMTLFamily.org)
May May is the author of a children’s picture book about her father titled, I Shook Up the World: The Incredible Life of Muhammad Ali. She is also a spokesperson for Team Parkinson and The Parkinson’s Unity Walk. Over the years, May May has appeared on television networks such as, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, ESPN, BBC, AL Jazeera, BBC, FOX, BET, Centric, Lifetime, and the Hallmark Channel. May May is currently on A&E's new docu-series, "60 Days In."
May May’s passion for understanding the dynamics of communication motivated her to develop her presentation titled, Let’s Talk, Let’s Listen. She is enthusiastic about imparting this information, because communication styles have enormous effects on the quality of personal and professional relationships. Coming from a large family, May May has learned a great deal about how to relate to her siblings who have a wide range of personalities. May May’s stand-up comedy stint equipped her with the ability to confidently convey messages that audiences instantly connect with. Her experience working with families in the human services field has given May May an acute sense the communication skills needed to foster healthy relationships as wells as the destructive forms of communication that break relationships down. Hence, May May is on a mission to share effective communication techniques in entertaining ways.