HomeBad Ass AsiansSaying Goodbye to AAPI Personalities Who Died in 2017

Saying Goodbye to AAPI Personalities Who Died in 2017

Eddie Kamae
Eddie Kamae
Courtesy: Hawaiian Legacy Foundation

By Ed Diokno
Views From The Edge


Some notable deaths occurred in 2017. Some are well known, but most remained under the radar, to most of America. Each, in their own way, had an impact on the AAPI community. We give them a final aloha.
Eddie Kamae was a singer, composer and legend. He was the founder of Sons of Hawaii, which sought to emphasize the working-class origins of “real” Hawaiian music. He was inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame. Kamae died in Honolulu last January at age 89.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla made headlines earlier this year when he was shot and killed in Kansas by a man who screamed at him to “get out of [his] country.” His widow, Sunayana Dumala, has been outspoken against racial bigotry and violence and on immigration. Kuchibhotla was 32 when he was killed in February.
Alex Tizon
Alex Tizon

Alex Tizon, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, taught journalism as an assistant professor since 2011 at the University of Oregon. His last article published posthumously, was controversial because he confessed that his family had kept a Filipina as a servant/slave for most of his life. He was 57 when he died March 23.
Christopher Wong Won is better known as rapper Fresh Kid Ice. He cofounded the hip-hop group 2 Live Crew. Won later left the group to form his own label, Chinaman Records. He died in July at age 53.
Aaron Lee used the pen name “Arun Likhati” to write his blog Angry Asian Buddhist. Lee’s online persona wasn’t always angry, though. He sensed a tension between Asian American Buddhists and white Buddhists. Lee died on Oct. 21 at age 34.

Wood Moy
Wood Moy played Jo in Chan is Missing. By Nancy Wong

Wood Moy, trailblazing Asian American actor, is best known for his iconic role as Jo in Wayne Wang’s classic 1982 film Chan is Missing. Moy died Nov. 8 at the age of 99.

Ed Lee, the first Asian American mayor of San Francisco, was a civil rights and affordable housing advocate. As mayor, he declared San Francisco as a “sanctuary” city. He was 65 when he died last month in San Francisco.
March Fong Eu, the first Asian American woman to hold an elected constitutional statewide office in California, died last month at the age of 95.
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