On April 26, 2018, Colorlines Editorial Director Akiba Solomon asked six Black feminists -- Tarana Burke ((#MeToo Movement founder), Aishah Shahidah Simmons (“NO! The Rape Documentary"director and producer and #LoveWITHAccountability creator), Jamilah Lemieux(writer, cultural critic and vice president of programming for CASSIUSlife.com), Dr. Salamishah Tillet ((A Long Walk Home co-founder), Ayana Byrd (author and editor) and Monifa Bandele (MomsRising senior vice president and The Movement for Black Lives activist) -- to speak about the Cosby sexual assault conviction.Read More
The Westwood Baptist Church in Richmond, VA where Rev. Michael Lomax is the pastor will host a FREE all day conference on sexual violence, accountability and healing on Saturday, April 21, 2018. There will be a panel, a screening of NO! The Rape Documentary, and a keynote by #BlackFeminist sister/scholar/comrade/friend, co-founder of The Feminist Wire, and the first lady of Westwood Baptist Church, Dr. Tamura Lomax.
SPREAD THE WORD. This FREE intergenerational gathering is open to all. You can register here.
Join Aishah Shahidah Simmons for Take Back the Night at Dickinson College Wednesday April 11th at 6:30pm in Allison Great Hall.
I walk with e. nina jay’s poems the way that I’ve walked with the (Audre) Lorde’s prose and poetry. It took me a minute before I watched her on-screen performance of the poems because I knew I had to be ready.
“these beautiful rooms
these beautiful rooms
I am opening the doors
To these chaotic rooms
This house is no tomb
This life is not doomed
This black rose can bloom
I will make a home
Of this body of rooms”
e. nina jay, body of rooms
From the moment and I mean the absolute moment I hit play on my dvd player, e nina jay pulled me into the screen and would not let me leave the room until the last credit rolled up the screen.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons was one of several LGBTQI individuals who paid homage to the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice in Eboné Bell’s, “Astraea Foundation Investing, Advocating, Amplifying, and Propelling LGBTQI Voices” in Tagg Magazine
“Over 20-years ago the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice was the first foundation that supported an unknown unapologetically out, twenty-something Black feminist lesbian rape survivor making a feature length documentary film about sexual violence and healing in Black communities. Astrea’s institutional support legitimized both the filmmaker and the film, NO! The Rape Documentary, which became an internationally acclaimed award-winning film that has transformed the lives of many survivors across the United States and internationally. Fast forward twenty years later and my support for Astraea support is unwavering just as theirs has been for countless lesbians and queer people like me who had nowhere else to turn.” -- Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Producer/Director, NO! The Rape Documentary
Click here to read the article in its entirety
Aishah will kick off April's Sexual Assault Awareness month in Tuscon, Arizona with a fundraiser screening of NO! The Rape Documentary on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 7:30pm.
All proceeds will go towards the planning of Tucson Take Back the Night 2018, the annual march and event raising awareness around sexual assault and empowering survivors.
Aishah was also featured on a local news segment.
On International Women's Day, Aishah Shahidah Simmons released the Essex Hemphill segment featured in NO! The Rape Documentary as a separate stand-alone video.
Cassius Life Magazine's news and culture editor Stephanie Long interviewed Aishah and published their conversation on March 14, 2018.
When NO! The Rape Documentary first debuted at the Pan African Film Festival in 2006, it was received with critical acclaim. Among the 50 documentaries and short films invited to be a part of the Open Frame Film Festival in 2009, NO! took home the Audience Choice Award and a Juried Award at the 2006 Sandiego Women Film Festival. It also won the award for Best Documentary at the 2008 India International Women’s Film Festival.
Now, for the first time, the film’s Essex Hemphill segment has been made into a stand-alone video. “I decided to make it a stand-alone short video this year because I believe it’s very important that we hear from Black men who are unwavering about the imperative need to address and end sexual and domestic violence in our communities,”Aishah Shahidah Simmons, director of NO!, told CASSIUS. “I worked with my friend and colleague Dr. Kai Green, who helped me create the stand alone video in his office at Williams College.”
C.: What went into making the decision to release this segment this year? Was it meant to be released sooner?
A.S.: The decision to release the Essex Hemphill segment as a standalone video separate from and still related to NO! The Rape Documentary was based on my desire to celebrate Black women in Women’s Herstory Month, and to lift up Hemphill’s radical vision of a world that respects and cherishes Black women long before it was trending. Hemphill’s poem, “To Some Supposed Brothers,” is a powerful acknowledgement of the wounds that so many Black women have to live with. Written almost three decades ago, his words and delivery have a compelling way of drawing you into a painful reality, while simultaneously calling the viewer into action to co-create a world without violence. Hemphill’s work was so piercing. He didn’t feel the necessity to sugar coat his words or images in order to make the audience feel good. His intention was to make you uncomfortable in order to affect radical social change.
C.: Can you tell us a little about raising funds to have the segment edited back in 1997 and why that was important?
A.S.: Fundraising for the making of the film was a hardcore Black feminist and LGBTQ grassroots effort. In the early days of the 12-year journey, I relied heavily upon the communities from which I come to support this vision. Award-winning poet and activist Sonia Sanchez and longterm activists Inelle Cox Bagwell and Pat Clark were the first people who gave major donations in support of the making of NO! The Rape Documentary. The Astraa Lesbian Foundation for Justice was the very first foundation who said, “YES! to NO!” Their collective funding enabled me to create two trailers, which featured the Essex Hemphill segment and testimonies from Black women rape survivors. I screened these trailers extensively across the United States and in several European countries including England, The Netherlands, France, and Italy at numerous educational fundraising screenings. The money raised at those screenings went directly into the making of the feature length documentary film.
Click here to read in its entirety here.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons was the keynote speaker at the Five College Queer Gender and Sexuality Conference, which was be held March 2-3 at Hampshire College. The title of her talk was AfroLezfemcentric Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Sexuality.