Next up on visualizAsian: Disgrasian’s Jen Wang & Diana Nguyen

Jen Wang and Diana Nguyen, creators of the blog Erin and I are excited to announce the next call in our series of conversations with Asian American leaders and newsmakers. We’ll be speaking with Jen Wang and Diana Nguyen of Disgrasian on Tuesday, September 21 at 7 pm PT (10 pm ET — it’s an hour later than our usual calls).

If you follow Asian American news and issues, there’s a very short list of must-read blogs to visit every day. They include Angry Asian Man, 8 Asians and Slant Eye for the Round Eye, for starters.

And there’s also Disgrasian, the influential blog created by Diana Nguyen and Jen Wang, two friends in the LA area who cover Asian American pop culture and politics with an edgy, acerbic, funny, smart and smart-ass attitude.

Diana and Jen have been featured on NPR, The Associated Press, The Daily Beast, Metro NY’s “Best of the Blogs,” and Hyphen magazine (a cover story!), and they have spoken at NYU, Yale, Harvard, UCLA, Loyola Marymount, and USC. Diana and Jen are also regular contributors to the Huffington Post and have created a web series for Adult Swim called Hollywood Slant. But their greatest achievement by far has been being named “Race Hustlers” and “Assorted Moonbats” by conservative pundit Michelle Malkin.

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BANANA, the first Asian American bloggers’ conference, to convene in LA

The Banana conference of Asian American bloggers will be held Nov. 21, 2009 in Los Angeles.

When I first started the Nikkei View as a weekly column in 1998 that ran in a Denver Japanese community newspaper (now gone), I posted the columns on my website. I wrote as a way of telling the world how I saw pop culture and politics through my Japanese American experience. In the decade since then, I’ve become involved in the larger Asian American Pacific Islander community, and converted the old website to this here blog.

At the time, I don’t think there were a lot of Asian Americans writing stuff on the web like I was. There may have been, but I didn’t reach out to find them. There were columnists who’d paved the way in traditional media (newspapers), like the late Bill Hosokawa, whose footsteps I followed early on, and Emil Guillermo of AsianWeek. The cool magazine Giant Robot launched back in 1994. The terrific Pacific Citizen newspaper had been publishing for decades, but didn’t have a website until a few years ago.

But there weren’t a lot of columns being posted online back in the day.

Now, the blogosphere allows for many voices from the AAPI community — the long list in my blogroll on the right of this page is always growing as I find new blogs to add — and a couple of them have risen to national prominence.

So Erin and I are planning to participate in a first-ever gathering of Asian American Pacific Islander bloggers called BANANA, Nov. 21 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (it’s a link to a Facebook page). It’s being organized by Lac Su, the author of the terrific memoir “I Love Yous Are for White People,” who ironically is not a blogger. (We’ll be interviewing Lac Su on Nov. 17 for

BANANA will hopefully establish once and for all that there’s an emerging chorus of voices that’s distinctly Asian American, that’s rooted in many Asian ethnic heritages, but is all tied together by shared experiences and values from living in, being born in and growing up in, these United States of America.

Not all of the bloggers I mention below will be at the BANANA event (see Joz’s comment below), but a couple of these voices have even developed a national audience outside the AAPI population: Continue reading