Exploring the stories of women who live by a ride-or-die philosophy

[SERIES] ‘I Used to Love H.I.M.’ The B-Girl Document – Part 2. All My Words Pass the Margin

By Nylda Gallardo-Lopez aka Lady Noyz | @ladynoyz

[Note from the Editor: This is Part 2 in a series by Nylda Gallardo-Lopez aka Lady Noyz entitled “I Used to Love H.I.M.” The B-Girl Document.” To read Part 1, please click HERE]


Part 2: ALL MY WORDS PASS THE MARGIN…. Raw B-girl movement…

“If I needed would you, give me your kidneys? (Uhh, uhh, fo’ sho’) Catch a case you catch it with me? (Mmm, fo’ sho’) Pawn your jewelry to come get me? (You better know) Catch me with a chick, forgive me? (Uhh, now that, I don’t know)”  – Sunshine – Jay-Z ft. Foxy Brown

The instant connection between my b-boy and I swooped in and disturbed the balance of both our lives; everything with our dance felt electric and in full colour. The rest of my life had become grey, soundless commercials. Nothing about us was as simple as me being a side chick, or him being my side dude (besides the fact that this term from our now social media debauchery of the English language, didn’t exist in ’94-95).  Our dynamic was complicated, yes, but the option of us not being in some way together was not an option.

My b-boy lived a good half-hour north out of Toronto, which is why it was understandable that we didn’t see each other that often. But when we did, it all revolved and tucked not so neatly into the folds of our dance life; this hip hop world that we had dedicated ourselves to as soldiers of the counterculture. We both were aware of the other person; the other person that we each were responsible to before we had head dived into each other’s lives. But somehow other people’s feelings and shit didn’t seem to be able to stop us. There did come a time, when my b-boy and I eventually bucked up, and swore there would be no more other people.

No more outsiders.

We would Bonnie & Clyde it in the dance cipher and out.

No more bystanders. No more casualties.

I kept my word, and believed he would do right by me as well.

For the first time in my young-ass, hard-headed life, I really put my trust in a boy.

I didn’t protect my neck.

The ribs that caged my heart were left ajar.

It was liberating.



There was a school night practice session where our partnership would begin to fracture. We were on our way to meet up with the rest of his crew, and an affiliate crew we had been training with a lot. Coming up to the community center off Jane Street, my b-boy asked me to reach to the back of the suburban to grab something from his backpack pocket…a cd maybe, I don’t recall exactly. What I did find was a folded up letter a few pages thick.

I immediately knew it was from homegirl; the other girl.

There was no question in my mind if I was gonna read this bitch. A flip switched inside me, it was like a buzzing in my throat and ears. I knew this was the beginning of the end. I pocketed it and waited for my time to “change my gear” in the privacy of the ladies bathroom.

Those loose-leaf papers went into extensive detail about the pain she was feeling; how she wanted an explanation about the tireless back and forth, the hot and cold she felt from him. This shit was dated the day before the day I was reading it.

I knew precisely what she was feeling…I had been there with him not so long ago. And really, there was always that dark knowledge of how and where he and I had begun.

Her questions were mine as well; when I got fire she got ice.

We were parallel.

We STILL existed in opposite planes of his cipher.

“….nevertheless I still put my faith in you…you was my dog, so I stayed faithful…But I’ll be god damned if I be some ni**a dumb bitch, It’s fucked up it’s gotta go down like this…” – Trials of love – Prodigy ft: B.K.

I could literally see and feel the colour drain out of my universe. I wasn’t naïve to the reality of how we started; there were always other lives involved.  But seeing it that afternoon on paper, in ink, flipped everything on its axis for me. The whole time I thought they were done – because he told me they were done – she was still very much a part of his life.

His other life.

How could I really be surprised tho?

Cue shame.

Cue fear.

Fear of what would have to ensue…there was no coming back from this shit.

Cue boiling rage…

At him. No doubt…

…but mostly at myself. That sharp hurt like a knife was being jammed up between my ribs.

Nothing was love.

Today, I am too familiar with that melting pot of emotions that stiffens my jaw; it seems like my teeth are gonna shatter into a billion pieces. It’s my Scorpio safe place; be mad because that is not as dangerous as feeling the actual hurt.

Somehow, some way (that is still beyond me) I managed to keep my composure throughout the practice session, and the ride home.


There are few things I loathe more than feeling like someone is tryin’ to play me for an idiot.

Insult me directly. Come at me blatantly. Do not question my intelligence. There I was, fooled more than twice; muthafukin shame on me.

“Collectively the facts should conclude the decision, you caught the brother in a terrible disposition…It’s a shame; the way you mess around with my heart. It’s a shame; the way you hurt me…” – It’s a Shame – Monie Love

I was “that girl” I swore l’d never be. That chick that knows she’s being lied on…knows everyone else knows she’s being lied on. The inevitable aftermath played out:

Me losing my stereotypical Latina shit.

Him flipping it on me for violating his privacy.

He was right; I shouldn’t have read “their” letter. 100% I was in no way a victim. The signs had all been there. I had to accept my responsibility in this telenovela; I feened for the drama.

Subsequently there was the break apart. To call it a break up just doesn’t make sense.

Nothing breaks upward.

My heart was in a million beats and treble clefs, scattered violently in every direction.

In fairness, the dissolution of my first great love wasn’t completely due to the lack of us keeping it a hundred with each other; I was far from a pawn in our chess match. I did have other homeboy along for the ride as well in the beginning. I justified it to myself (and others) with the fact that my first kat, my older kat, had cheated on me early on in our relationship.

Another important element to this herstory, was the context of the time that this was all going down. These were madd formative years of my life. While i had been training with my b-boy and his crew I had also found a deep camaraderie with 2 crews that ran deep in my highschool stomping grounds.  One of these crews I would eventually be welcomed into as a member, and that I would eventually spend every waking hour with.

“One thing about music: when it hits you feel no pain, white folks say it controls your brain, but I know better than that…it’s bigger than hip hop.” – Hip Hop – Dead Prez

Within the wreckage of the breakdown, there would be deep and significant circumstances and incidents that would shape my core beliefs about the society I lived in and the safety, or lack thereof, that I as a young woman felt in this cold, cold, world. Between the 14-17 years of my life, I had faced sexual and physical attacks, a pro choice mind fuck, trips to nationalist mother land, a stay in the Bronx, and the south side of Chicago…

lady noyz feb 3My first crew was monumental in giving me something I had always wanted, a connection to men that was unconditional and protective. This group of young men that was already formed, and warmly welcomed me in, became my new focus, where my dedication would lay. We spent every waking hour sessioning, drinking 40’s, travelling across our city, and to the states for every battle and jam to show out at. I had found a true sense of community that had no strings attached, and no conditions.

“…Only female in my crew, and I kick shit, like a ni**a do, pull the trigger too, fuck you.” – All About the Benjamin’s Remix – Lil Kim

Truth be told, that at this point there was nothing more that I wanted to do with myself. The things that other girls at my age were preoccupying themselves with seemed trivial and tedious to me. After the time and energy spent in my first love ordeal, all i wanted to do was kick it with my brothers and vibe away the pain.

At this point in time, the b-boy community was completely a man’s world; there was a 0 b-girl presence in Toronto. There was 1 other female I had heard about through word of mouth- because continuing with context there was next to no internet access at this time (so we actually talked to each other) – repping not too far from where I stayed. She was crewed up, so it never occurred to me that we would somehow link up and become a crew because of our double chromosome. Me entering into this gritty world was my feminist, revolutionary spirit at its finest.

I was hooked to the rush of the dance

A wasp to the flame.

I’d be goddamed if someone was gon’ tell me I couldn’t learn and rep for the culture because of what was not between my legs.

“… I know my streets, I know my sound, y’all know my beats how I get down, I take my steps in leaps and bounds…it’s …” – Hip Hop – Royce da 5’9

Our little corner of the world that we existed in as b-peoples was not for the timid. It was a tireless plateau of competition and originality. it was terrifying and delicious in the same breath.

My decision to switch from new school choreo and salsa, that I had been doing since I could walk, to the foundations of our cultures dance was a result of something my brother had said to me in a moment of deep politicking:

“It isn’t enough to be called a ‘hip hop head,’ to know lyrics, be a fan, and bob your head at jams. One must be a pro-active soldier in the cause – manifesting and spreading the beauty and revolutionary essence of our culture.”

Hip hop was the closest thing we had here in Canada to what my parents fought for, were essentially exiled lady noyz feb 2for, and almost died for in Chile. Their cause, as much as it will always be ours, just didn’t have the same relevance to us in Toronto. Inevitable tho, those principles and that fire was transferred, (especially in my case) through our DNA and blood.

Hip hop was the closest thing we had here in Canada to what my parents fought for, were essentially exiled for, and almost died for in Chile. Their cause, as much as it will always be ours, just didn’t have the same relevance to us in Toronto. Inevitable tho, those principles and that fire was transferred, (especially in my case) through our DNA and blood.

There is nothing I do that is ever just to do. These 18-19 years I have spent as a soldier for hip hop mean something different to me than your average ‘Head”. I can with no exaggeration say that hip hop has been the longest, most complicated, at times heavily dysfunctional relationship I have ever had. It was the male voice that essentially raised me, loved me, and carried me on countless occasions.

When I go in, I go IN

I am a sponge…

a stimulation junky…

the down side of this is that when you are running at a constant fight or flight pace, there is space for a lot of bad shit to happen.

“…I’m ready for more; I’m ready for war…hold your position, load up ammunition…cuz where I’m from; we live by the love; die by the love…we live for the love, die for the love…” – To Live and Die – Jhene Aiko

B-girling more than ever became my sanctuary. It saved me from myself.

I was so far into my obsession with this dance that I barely noticed that one of my crew members was becoming my closest confidant This young man slowly became my best friend. He had been there for me – as much as I would allow – thru the heart wrenching aftermath of love numero uno.  He had witnessed it all from a distance, waited patiently to enter my life with an energy that was so foreign to me. He was vulnerable, and okay with that position with me. He felt no need to front with a forced bravado. He knew I would see through any attempt at that anyhow. He would later be the next manifestation of my ride or die, and together we would plant the seed that would change my life forever…

Lady NoyzNylda Gallardo-Lopez aka Lady Noyz | Core Writer


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