Warning: Might make you cry.
Had he lived, my brother Aaron would have turned 47 on Jan. 12.
There is nothing I can say about my grief that doesn’t feel trite, but anyone who has ever lost a sibling will understand. I had always subconsciously assumed that I would spend the vast majority of my whole life with my brother. We would grow old together laughing at the same things, watching the same movies, cackling about our family, railing against all of the things that nerdy black people rail about. Now, I will spend the vast majority of my life without him. That is a sentence I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Five years ago, I marked Aaron’s birthday by publicly announcing the launch of Rebellious Magazine for Women. It felt like an incredibly fitting way to honor the memory of someone who was one of the first black male bloggers on the web. Aaron was a pioneer. He was inspiring. He had a sense of humor and a writing voice that are unmatched. Even today, I read his writing, and I hear his voice in my head, feel the joy of that unmistakable laugh. I try not to remember the weight of his sadness, but that is there, too.
Five years ago, I asked women to submit their stories of what made them Rebellious. It’s a question that was so fun to pose, because it isn’t something that most of us probably think about a lot. We filled the first online issue of Rebellious with testimonials of Rebellion, and it launched 18 months of content that was funny, sad, inspiring, irreverent, witty, personal, political, spiritual, silly and serious. I like to think that Aaron would have been proud.
It was all unpaid. And when I relaunched Rebellious last year, I pledged that I would never again ask writers to volunteer for us. Today, I’m so proud that all of our writers and staff are paid for their work. That’s a claim that not even some of the largest media companies can make, particularly digital media companies. To them I say: If we can do it, so can you.
Which brings me to my point: Rebellion, much like freedom, isn’t free.
Our costs are low, but we do have them: It costs money to pay staff and freelancers; it costs money to keep the site up and running; it costs money to put on our events.
And so today, five years after the launch of Rebellious, I’m asking for your support. I’m asking you to support independent, feminist media. I’m asking you to support what I consider part of Aaron’s legacy.
One note on that, if I may: I miss Aaron so much that when I relaunched the magazine, I asked Princess McDowell to write a regular column in his memory. Princess not only thinks like my brother, she used to read his blog in college. And, omg, she even LOOKS like him.
How can you support us? Become a member. Today, I’m introducing the Aaron Hawkins Memorial Membership. It’s $47, and you can get more details here: http://www.rebelliousmagazine.com/…/aaron-hawkins-memorial-…
Your membership will get you discounted tickets to Rebellious events and some TBD swanky promo swag. Think: tote bag, coffee mug, period product pouch.
Through the end of January, you can also use the ForAaron47 discount code for 47% off of the Double Issue Membership:
Or the Business Section Membership:
There’s a full run-down of our memberships here:
Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting Rebellious, thank you for joining me in remembering how amazing my brother was.
P.S. You can watch trailblazer Anil Dash talking about Aaron here at the XOXO Festival in 2015.