Aishah Shahidah Simmons is an award-winning Black feminist lesbian documentary filmmaker, educator, activist, cultural worker, writer and international lecturer. An incest and rape survivor, she is the producer, writer, and director of the Ford Foundation-funded, internationally acclaimed and award-winning feature length film NO! The Rape Documentary. Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Color Purple, says, “If the Black community in the Americas and in the world would save itself, it must complete the work that [NO!] begins.”
NO! is available to stream on Vimeo On Demand
Aishah is one of the Just Beginnings Collaborative (JBC), 2016-2019 inaugural cohorts of eight fellows and ten grantee organizations. Funded by the NoVo Foundation, the JBC Fellowship initiates strategies to end child sexual abuse.
Her JBC-funded multimedia work #LoveWITHAccountability journeys deeper than NO! to pull up the roots of child sexual abuse. Aishah is unequivocal in her belief that if we do not collectively pull up those roots, we not only allow the most vulnerable to be sexually victimized, but we will also never ever end adult rape. #LoveWITHAccountability examines how accountability is a powerful and necessary form of love needed to address child sexual abuse (CSA). #LoveWITHAccountability also examines how the silence around child sexual abuse in the familial institution plays a direct role in creating a culture of sexual violence in all other institutions—religious, academic, activist, political and professional. She is in the final stages of editing the forthcoming Love With Accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse anthology (AK Press, Fall 2019). The collection will feature 40- adult diasporic Black child sexual abuse survivors and advocates who use transformative storytelling to explore how can disrupt and end child sexual abuse without solely relying on the the very state that brutalizes Black and other marginalized communities.
Aishah is a Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication and an Affiliate Scholar at the Ortner Center on Violence and Abuse in Relationships, both at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of the University of Arizona’s Consortium on Gender-Based Violence.
A recipient of numerous awards, Aishah most recently received the 2018 American Studies Association’s Committee on Gender and Sexuality Studies annual Gloria E. Anzaldúa Award for Independent Scholars, Contingent or Community College Faculty.
The Committee was thoroughly impressed with your important cultural work at the forefront of intersectional feminist praxis. We agree that NO! The Rape Documentary was indeed “ahead of its time” and that it thoroughly reflects and builds on the vital tradition of work generated by women of color activists, cultural workers, and scholars.
Previously, Aishah was a 2016-2018 Visiting Scholar at the School for Social Policy and Practice (SP2) at the University of Pennsylvania., a 2015-2016 Sterling Brown Professor of Africana Studies at Williams College, a Contingent Faculty Member in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Temple University, an O’Brien Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at Scripps College, an Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture and a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, and an Artist-in-Residence at Spelman College’s Digital Moving Image Salon.
Her essays and articles have been published widely in anthologies, journals, and other media. Aishah is both an Associate Editor of online publication, The Feminist Wire, and a member of the editorial board of The Feminist Wire Books Series at the University of Arizona Press. Her cultural work and activism have been both published and documented extensively in a wide range of media outlets including The New York Times, NBC.com, Essence, CASSIUS, Hematopoiesis Press, The Root, Imagine Otherwise, Crisis, Forbes, Left of Black, In These Times, Ms. Magazine, Alternet, ColorLines, The Philadelphia Weekly, National Public Radio (NPR), Pacifica Radio Network and Black Entertainment Television (BET).
Click here for an in-depth non-exclusive listing of Simmons' writings and media coverage from 1994 -- to the present.
Aishah has screened her work, guest lectured, and facilitated workshops and dialogues to racially and ethnically diverse audiences at colleges and universities, high schools, conferences, international film festivals, rape crisis centers, battered women shelters, community centers, juvenile correctional facilities, and government sponsored events across the North American continent and several countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. You can follow Aishah on twitter @AfroLez and #LoveWITHAccountability at @LoveAccountably.
"To Some Supposed Brothers" © 2006, 2018, USA Color/Digital/Video/3-minutes
"Deconstructing Rape Myths" © 2008, 2016, USA Color/Digital/Video/30-minutes
“Feminist We Love”: Linda Janet Holmes © 2014, USA, Color/Digital Video/60-minutes
“Feminists We Love”: Gloria I. Joseph, Ph.D. © 2014, USA, Color/Digital Video/60-minutes
“Feminists We Love”: Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, M.D., M.Sc. © 2014, USA, Color/Digital Video/60-minutes
Breaking Silences: A Supplemental Video to NO! © 2008, USA, Color/Digital Video/112 minutes
For Women of Rage and Reason © 2006, USA, Color/Digital Video/4:45 minutes
NO! The Rape Documentary © 2006, USA, Color/Digital Video/94-minutes
NO! A Work-in-Progress © 1997, 2000, 2002, USA, Color/Digital Video/8-minutes, 20-minutes, and 74-minutes\
In My Father’s House © 1996, USA, Color/Video/15-minutes
Silence…Broken © 1993, USA, Color/Video/8-minutes