Updated: May 12
Mooni Khalifah, beloved member of the B-CC community, passed away today after a long battle with DOCK8, an immune disorder. Mooni's kind and happy spirit will always be remembered at B-CC. Below, we reminisce Mooni, and cherish the moments we spent with him.
Read a profile on Mooni's journey here.
Read an entry from Mooni's journal here.
"It is comforting to know that B-CC gave Mooni some teenage moments. I remember his excitement before the Tattler photoshoot. He came to ask, what do you think I should wear? Traditional American clothes? A sweatshirt and jeans? Or maybe something culturally traditional? And then he grinned the Mooni grin and struck a pose! The picture is exquisite. Mooni certainly gave to us. In his paraphrased words, everything you go through makes you who you are. We are stronger for knowing you, brave Mooni." - Ms. Patricia Parmelee
"My first interaction with Mooni was from a direct message that he sent me on Instagram. The message read 'Hey there ben, my name is mooni I'm kinda new to the school I only been here for 3 weeks before I had to go away for chemo. I listened to your songs and I loved them. I myself like to write songs, I was wondering if you could help me produce a song or something.' I was struck by his pride, and by the way he owned his truth straight out the gate it was like, 'boom, I have cancer, let’s do music.' His boldness was inspiring. I had him come to the studio a month later, and we recorded one of his songs. He was still fighting his cancer. He told me how much of a fan he was of me, but I let him know that he could never get close to how much of a fan I was of him. He inspired me, and the fact that my music inspired him changed my outlook on making music.
Before I met Mooni, I didn’t even know when my next album was gonna be released. After I met Mooni, I started working on it, making sure everything was perfect. After our first studio session, he had his final appointment for his cancer. He fought long and hard, and was cancer-free. After he was declared cancer-free, I knew it was Mooni’s time to shine. The BCC-TV Team made him the Fly Baron of the Month for Charity Month, and I had him accompany me at my Mr. BCC performance. He told me that he always had dreamed of performing for people, and that’s exactly what we did.
Our performance was incredible. I didn’t tell anyone that he was going on the stage that night, and Ms. Bowman was adamant that there should be no surprises. I foolishly didn’t tell Mooni that he wasn’t supposed to perform with me that night, so of course, he met me backstage. I was in the bathroom, however, so when I finally saw him, he looked like he had seen a ghost. He was like “dude, some girl saw me backstage, and told the teacher, and she came up to me and was like ‘what are you doing here??’ Should I even go up?” I told him not to worry, and that I wouldn’t let anything get in the way of his special moment. The performance was banging. The crowd loved him. They didn’t necessarily enjoy my part of the performance, but once he came on, everyone was live.
That night, we hung out in Ms. Pagán’s room, because it happened to be the day before his amazing segment aired. The day that the segment aired, I got texts from so many people telling me how much Mooni’s story inspired them. I know his messages must have been flooding too. A couple weeks later, it was time for his surgery. The day before his surgery, I visited Mooni, along with people from the BCC-TV cast and crew. We played cards, listened to his music, and I made sure to play him my album before it was released. Everyone in that room was inspired by Mooni. I certainly was. Mooni’s energy lit that room up, as it always did. We made sure to get the girl that he liked over to NIH, and left them to some private time. He wasn’t allowed any visitors the day of his surgery, but we talked on the phone. He told me about how his experience with his girl was, and we talked about all the music we’d make in the summer when he was done with surgery. I couldn’t wait. Although Mooni won’t be here physically to make any music with me this summer, I’ll feel him every time I get close to the microphone. I’ll remember the laughs and the excited yells of our studio sessions, and most of all, I’ll remember the fresh bright feeling that I got whenever I was around him.
Mooni, I love you bro, now and forever. " -Ben Moran
"What struck me the most about Mooni was his attitude.
He was so grateful for every moment he could experience. He was passionate about his friends and his art. He was patient. He was warm.
When I heard what had happened, I struggled to understand why someone so nice, so undeserving of any pain, had to experience the most. I still don’t understand.
Mooni, I am thinking of you. You made me consider what I was grateful for, and not because I looked at you as sick. You were a reminder of the joys of friendship and creativity, because you were a friend who wasn’t afraid to show your care and you were talented at what you loved.
Rest in peace, my friend." -Grace Carter
Photos by Mooni Khalifah.
"When I first met Mooni the thing that surprised me most was his relentless positivity, even when faced with challenges none of us could even imagine having to endure. Mooni came into our community and I think I can speak on behalf of all of us when I say he taught us to focus not only on how we can be our best selves, but how we can encourage others to spread that same positivity. For me, one of the most impactful moments I shared with Mooni was when he was first joining the journalism class. He was so incredibly engaged and responsive to every edit and assignment, and even though he had just joined, he made a point to not only come to our after school fundraisers, but even participate in them. I was lucky enough to be one of the people who got to read and hear Mooni perform his poetry. Even when discussing the struggles he faced with treatment and the uncertainty of his condition, the focus of his work was always instead placed on the growth he’s made and the strength he found inside himself to continue to fight and not just fight but thrive. Mooni has helped me put my own struggles and problems into perspective, and continues to remind me that there is nothing that cannot be conquered by a strong will and a positive outlook. I feel truly blessed that I was able to have a connection with Mooni for the short time he was with us at B-CC, and I would like to extend my support, love, and prayers to his family during this time. " - Emma Volkers
"I will never forget Mooni’s vibrant energy and light. From the day I met him, I knew he was a special person. He would light up every room he walked into and brighten up my day anytime I had a conversation with him in Tattler. When I listened to him talk about his experiences, I was beyond moved by his strength, positivity, bravery and willingness to open up. When he first decided to join Tattler, I was so excited that we’d have another hardworking, compassionate and enthusiastic writer in the class, and he blew me away with his dedication and commitment after just a few weeks. Only knowing Mooni for a few months changed me for the better and I’m so grateful he was in my life for a short while. He will be missed dearly by the B-CC community and all my love and prayers go out to his family and friends." - Rachel Auerbach
"Mooni was one of the most genuine people I have ever met. No matter the situation, he always had a 'glass-half-full' perspective on life. He never looked at himself with pity. He was always smiling. He was always willing to help and willing to participate. Mooni was always talking to people and branching out. I first met Mooni in Tattler's class and from there, I learned more and more with each day how Mooni Khalifah had the most passionate, kind, and beautiful soul. He loved to help and he loved to be a part of things. From hearing his poetry to hearing him perform, the memories I have with Mooni will never be forgotten. Mooni had a beautiful soul and his impact on the B-CC community always be remembered. I send my dearest condolences to Mooni Khalifah's family and friends. My heart goes out to you." -Lilly Behbehani
"I'm very grateful that I had the opportunity to meet Mooni. Mooni was such a positive person to be around. He always made the best of his situation, regardless of what it was. His attitude towards life taught me so much. He taught me to focus on the present and appreciate all the things that life has to offer. Mooni was such an inspiration, and someone everyone should look up to. Mooni was a kind, intelligent, hardworking and dedicated person who deserves the best. Mooni will not be forgotten, he created a legacy that will live on forever." -Isabel Danzis
"Mooni had a very kind and optimistic spirit. I remember going to the event that was held for MoCAT back in February where he spoke. Even though the theme of the event was 'fear', Mooni said he wasn’t afraid of what the future brought. It struck me how he had an incredibly mature perspective on life. When he joined Tattler for the second semester, he was very personable and charming. He went along with our ideas and edits and deadlines, which means a lot. I was very lucky to know him and get to work with him on the Tattler." -Grace Harrington
"Meeting Mooni for the first time was something I’ll never forget. It’s always difficult meeting people who have uncertain futures like Mooni; you never really know whether to be excited to meet them or sad they have to carry that extra weight all the time. With Mooni, however, he made it easy.
He didn’t want you to feel sorry for him when he hit his lows. Instead, he wanted his peers to be excited to see him reach his highs; from seeing him write his first article for the school newspaper to eventually becoming a nurse to give back to those who gave him so much. I have the utmost respect for the confidence and bravery with which he confronted his medical situation, and admiration for his infectious positivity and welcoming spirit.
No matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you do, Mooni’s constant positive outlook on life is something we can all learn from and serves as a testament to what it means to persevere. " -Charlie Kannapell