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October 9, 1977 – February 21, 2023

Aron Kalaii Hawkins was born October 9, 1977 to Ralph and Connie Hawkins in Durham, North Carolina. His parent’s fondest memories of his early years were that he was a photogenic baby that would easily smile for photos without being prompted and that he began walking and running at an early age. He had a stuffed animal, named “Matt the Mouse” that was his favorite toy that he carried with him everywhere and defended uncompromisingly. Because Aron is eternally “the baby of the Hawkins family”, a title that he proudly held, his mother composed “Rock-a-Bye-Baby an original lullaby especially for him, a song that he nostalgically sung well into his adult years.

At four years’ old, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Aron was already grooming himself to be the renaissance man that he eventually became. At a young age Aron was a very serious artist that was influenced by Philly’s graffiti art and his father’s extensive comic book collection. Aron and his older brother would spend countless hours with markers and sketch pads creating colorful, beautiful and imaginary images. Aron started playing the trumpet at Penrose Elementary School, in Philadelphia which sparked his interest in music, an interest that was partially influenced by his family owned immense jazz-music collection. Aron was introduced to the martial arts by his father, Ralph E. Hawkins, III  who was the sensei of two dojos in the city of Philadelphia. Aron internalized Kenpo, the martial art that his father taught and later all martial arts on a much deeper level, that he incorporated in his art, his music and his way of life.

Aron’s family relocated to Ettrick Virginia in the late 80’s, and he continued to sharpened his talents. He attended Ettrick Elementary and Matoaca Middle School, two environments that Aron used to cultivate his creative talents. As a radical forward-thinker, he wrote book reports that initially startled Matoaca’s faculty members; but later, his thoughts were respected and regarded as genius.  

When Aron reached Matoaca High School’s campus, he came with a cadre of friends that were like family to him, Jeremy Smith; Cliff Richardson; Jason Lofton, Macree Lofton, Charity Brown and several others who remained his friends for his entire life. Many of his friends also became his martial arts students and became members of the police force and military. Aron joined the track team and later the drama club, where he painted backdrops for stage plays and designed promotional posters for the high school productions. He was a devoted student to Matoaca’s Honors Arts program until he graduated in 1995.

After high school Aron studied film at Virginia Commonwealth University and business at Bryant and Stratton College but preferred to enter Richmond, Virginia’s burgeoning independent art market. He became very active in Richmond’s diverse underground art scene and met several new friends that were artisans of several disciplines: actors, musicians, poets/rappers and aspiring stuntmen and women. All of whom he supported whole heartedly, and in return they contributed their talents to help Aron to create his first independent full length film: Samurai, Muslim, Thug, a film that displayed stunts, martial arts and creative script writing. The film was a master’s class in what’s now known as guerilla filming and was used as an expert example in college film courses in Virginia, including Virginia State University’s Mass Communications Department. He also created an episodic martial arts internet broadcast called the “Legend of Tenzi” and several commercials and music videos for local merchants and musicians.

Aron was also a natural photographer and displayed his talents at Glamour Shots in Chesterfield county.

It wasn’t long before models and actor from everywhere commissioned him to complete their portfolios. Aron was also training in modeling men’s fashion in Tyson’s Corner Virginia.

 In December of 2001 after the 9-11 tragedy he photographed holiday scenes in New York and created patriotic Christmas cards as collaboration with his brother. The tandem sold several copies of that holiday card which they donated the proceeds to relief efforts.

Although he was an emerging artist, Aron never forgot his martial arts roots, he moonlighted as private security for multiple nightclubs, concert venues and private individuals in Petersburg and Richmond. Throughout his career as a private security person, he engaged in over 2000 physical fights, including several disarmaments of weapon carrying assailants. As one former member of Emmanuel Worship Center (his family’s congregation) put it, “Aron handled his business!”

In 2007 Aron ventured from his familiar hometown to enter the competitive art markets of Santa Fe and Albuquerque New Mexico. It was here that Aron made a new home. And for almost 20 years he flourished immensely and found a multiplicity of new friends from all walks of life that supported him and his art. He founded and was the front-man for two bands “Eyes of Nine” and later “Vicious Kitties” while supporting friends in other bands as a percussionist and a guitar player. He played concerts all over New Mexico and eventually in several major cities all over the U.S. He collaborated with his cousin Zite Jones-Archbold for a successful solo percussion performance in Baltimore, MD.

2009-2018 He starred in several independent films  and became a stunt double for a television series: “In Plain Sight”.

It was under the big sky of New Mexico that Aron’s art expanded beyond the canvas and into murals. He painted them for businesses, public schools and homes. He also has murals in Dallas and Atlanta.

In 2019 he connected with a good friend Trey Pickett, a modern dancer and helped him build a cultural center, in a building that was donated to them. Aron completed dozens of artworks on canvas that are displayed in that cultural arts center to this very day.

Visual art was always Aron’s first love and his work is reminiscent of all groundbreaking painters with beautiful, vivid colors, original style and with radical, unapologetic concepts. Aron’s artwork has personality just like their creator, bold intentional and original!

Aron continued to do private security as a side hustle and in 2020, he helped black business owners defend their properties from rioting-agents-of-chaos alongside UFC fighter John Jones. He remained highly respected among other private security persons, and was considered a transcendent peace keeper “we were able to quell a lot of major fighting simply because so many people knew and respected Aron” explained one of his co-workers. Aron was also respected by club owners in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. At Aron’s memorial service in New Mexico, a successful club owner described him as a “superhero”. 

Despite his untimely passing Aron left a legacy of community service and art that can be enjoyed by all and remembered as a man who maximized all of his God-given talents every day of his life.

Aron is survived by his parents, Ralph and Connie Hawkins III; brother, Ralph E. Hawkins IV, nephew, Hiram Aron Hawkins; aunt, Gail M. Jones (Rodney); great uncle, Gomalie A. “Uncle Sweets” Jones, cousins, Zite Jones Archbold (Alphonsus), Cheryl Williams (Dickson) Veena White Sanchez (Francelin), Renee Copeland, Jean Renaud, Dorothy E. Harper (David), Harold Simpson, Jr., Christian White, Lois English, Amanda Anita Brown, Deborah English, Daquan Champion English-Williams, Dionna Casey Hunter, Kenneth Zachary Hunter, Daidralyn English, Deidra English and Caleb Celso English-Pena; and a host of other loving great aunts, cousins and relatives.

He also had a host of good and devoted friends in New Mexico, Kina R. Murphy, Eugene Shelby “Trey” Pickett, Rawia Mahmoud, Tomaz Cervantez, Faith P. Maxwell, Dakarai Q. McCoy, Adrian Ortiz, Neema, Norman Katz, Barbara Lemure, Gharib and Shimaa Yassin Dessouky.

Services will be held 5:00 P.M., Saturday, March 25, 2023, at Emmanuel Worship Center, 236 Grove Avenue, Petersburg, VA, Pastor Barry Green, eulogist and Pastor Donnie Hordge, officiant. The interment will be held 2:00 P.M., Sunday, March 26, 2023, at Maryland National Memorial Cemetery.

J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc., 102 South Avenue, Petersburg, VA, (804) 732-8911, watch the funeral services live online at