(Edit 5/10/16: People have asked how they can help Keon’s family. There is a GoFundMe page here. Please support this veteran, patriot, hero, and artist by supporting the family in giving Keon the Buddhist ancestral farewell that he deserves.
About Keon’s anonymity: Everyone at the Banana Conference knew Keon by name, but he chose to use only his moniker online in order to separate his activism from his future work as a novelist. Keon never completed his novel. His family has approved the release of his identity so that this hero can leave the world proudly and to get recognition for his immense contributions to the Asian American blogosphere and the many people he influenced.
I was heartbroken this morning to hear that my friend and colleague The Minority Militant, Keon Enoy Munedouang, has died. One of his friends e-mailed me, and I called his cell phone. It’s been confirmed by his family: one of the greatest bloggers for the Asian American cause has left us. I’m heartbroken–crying both inside and out. There are not many bloggers in the Asian American blogosphere who told it like it is. Minority Militant was one of a kind. He was fearless in his delivery, always getting to the heart of the matter rather than relying on the dogma and slogans and political correctness that drive many of the other bloggers out there. You’ll hear of V3Con in the Asian American blogosphere these days. What people don’t know is that V3Con came from the Banana Conference. The Banana Conference was started by Lac Su, whose favorite blogger was The Minority Militant, a fact that Lac proudly declared at the very first conference. The Minority Militant was the original inspiration behind the biggest Asian American blogger conference in the world today.
I remember meeting TMM for the first time. He was a strong, tall guy, a dude with swagger, proud of his service in the U.S. Navy. He was Laotian, and I used to joke with him that my own darker-than-the-average-Chinese skin made us like brothers. TMM was a fierce defender of what was right. He hated political correctness, and he was outspoken to a point that it sometimes got him in trouble. His writing voice was hilarious. He called out everyone. He attacked the foundation of racism. He was one of the few other bloggers interested in the importance of Asian American literature in either fighting or reinforcing racism. Who will ever forget the “Chickencoop” where TMM put offenders? “Into the chickencoop with you!” Who will ever forget “Asian pornstars that America is lovin’ long time?” He had a stream of female porn stars that changed every week, and he set the entire blogosphere on fire when he chose Keni Styles as his last representative!
At the Banana Conference, I remember how they had a panel of us that represented political outsider bloggers (I don’t remember what they called us). It was me, TMM, Bicoastal Bitchin, and Larry from Asian American Movement. As one of the few black sheep of the AA blogosphere, it was great to have real colleagues. Along with Sylvie from the AntiSocial Ladder, we were all blog buds. TMM was there for us, and we were there for him.
His work was inspiring to us all. TMM had some personal and financial issues during the last few years, but he never stopped working hard at whatever he was doing. He would call me from time to time, and I was always impressed by how TMM lived such a genuine life. He never expected anything from anyone; he just wanted to contribute. He loved this country, he loved writing, and he loved being himself. He was among the most genuine people.
I’ve just listened to my podcast with TMM from 2008. If he affected your life in a positive way, please take some time to remember who he was and what he gave to this country and to the rest of us. TMM should know that he didn’t live in vain. Rest in Peace, Brother.
Other tributes to Keon: