“Nobody cares about Black women.”
Those were the words that ignited fire in the belly of Qimmah Saafir to finally go out on faith with launching her own magazine for Black women.
The statement came from an industry insider who started a number of magazines in the market. A casual conversation about diversity in the magazine business led to a sobering reality.
“I realized nobody else cares about this. Nobody else is going to do this for us, so why not just do it?” she says.
And then the conception of Hannah magazine was born.
The biannual glossy seeks to give a voice to women of color, like Saafir, who always felt there wasn’t enough content that spoke to them and their interests. Though the 34-year-old says she has respect for legacy magazines like Essence and Ebony that cater to Black women, it’s not enough.
“How many magazines with white women are on the cover every month? White women have about 30 different magazines that they can choose according to their liking. Why should we have only one and a half?” Saafir tells Centric.
“I think everyone’s kind of lumped Black women into this caricature of who we’re supposed to be without realizing we’re very diverse within our group. There should be countless magazines for us because we’re not all going to be interested in the same thing.”
Rather than the same ole monthly “5 ways to do this” and “10 ways to that,” Saafir says,Hannah is about quality over quantity.
“It’s a collectible. It’s something that people can have and enjoy on their coffee table,” she says.
Hannah comes from Saafir’s deceased father, who would often use the name when referring to the sun, which they both took pleasure in.
“He would call me and say Hannah’s out have you greeted her?” the Bronx native says. “The name is an ode to him but I felt it was very appropriate for celebrating how Black women shine.”
To finance the magazine, Saafir created a Kickstarter campaign with the target goal of raising $30,000. That cost covers production of the first issue, paying writers and designing the mag’s website. So far nearly $18,000 have been pledged with only four days left.
Saafir says she’s taken aback by the massive support behind Hannah, including celebs likeNicole Ari Parker, Mara Brock Akil and Blair Underwood, who have either followed or shouted out the magazine on social media. It also gained the support of international and non-Black women.
“From Belgium and Italy and South Africa and Australia, people are saying they want Hannah there,” she says.
But it was a letter from a Texas college student that confirmed to Saafir that something likeHannah magazine is so necessary.
“She said no one in her school looks like her and when she goes to Hannah Mag [website] she feels a part of something and connected to it and celebrated. If no one else gets it and she’s the only one that felt that then my job is done,” Saafir says.
“I know you’re feeling alone or that no one cares about your beauty or genius. I want you to know you’re everything.”