Hiphop Speaks and Black Men in Support of the Film "NO!" in conjunction with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture present a screening and public discussion around the film "NO!" a documentary about rape and sexual assault in the Black Community directed and produced by AISHAH SHAHIDAH SIMMONS Friday, March 7, 2003 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture 515 Malcolm X Blvd., corner of 135th Street New York City (Harlem)

Doors open at 7PM Admission is FREE and the program is open to both women AND men Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis


"NO!" is a documentary film written, directed, and produced by Aishah Shahidah Simmons. "NO!" deals squarely with the issues of intra-racial rape and sexual assault or, in other words, the violence that far too many Black men have thrown, through the years since slavery, at Black women.

Simmons has literally been working on this film for the past seven or eight years, piecing together donations, grant money, and other revenue to get it to its current form, a 74-minute rough cut. A Philadelphia-based filmmaker, Simmons has also had to deal with a number of individuals and groups within the Black community who have not endorsed this important project. Sadly, few Black men have supported "NO!" publicly, hence the creation of Black Men In Support of the Film "NO!" and this community screening and forum.

The great tragedy of this is that MOST Black men know AT LEAST ONE BLACK WOMAN in their lives who has been the victim of rape, incest, molestation, or some other form of sexual assault. And some of you have sisters, nieces, or daughters who have been OR will be the victims of rape, incest, molestation, or some other form of sexual assault as long as we men, particularly those of us in positions of privilege and influence, remain SILENT around this very serious issue that plagues our communities nationwide. And given that the music and culture that many of us have grown up on, namely hiphop, has been redirected, commodified, and reduced to very narrow definitions of Black manhood where it almost appears that some of us now HATE Black women, it is certain that young brothers coming up behind us 20somethings and 30somethings, regardless of their class or educational backgrounds, will have attitudes and behavioral patterns as bad as ours, if not worse, if none of us step to the plate and take the weight of responsibility for this very serious crisis.

The days of rallying behind a Mike Tyson, a Jim Brown, an R. Kelly, or whichever Black man is famous and unapologetically abusive and disrespectful toward Black women need to end, and we hope some of you see the seriousness of this, and will come to this important event.

To drive the point home, here is a well-researched and detailed paragraph that Ms. Simmons recently shared with us:

"There is a silent war going on in the African American community in the United States of America. It is a war by African American men and boys on African American women and girls. It is a war of rape and sexual assault of African American women and girls. Up until recently, this war was not publicly acknowledged by the African American community or the mainstream community because it wasn't viewed as important. This type of warfare being practiced against African American women and girls is not limited to the African American community. Intra-racial rape and sexual assault occur in every community worldwide. Women and girls, regardless of race, culture, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, class, and/or physical ability, are raped, sexually assaulted, and molested throughout the world every single minute of every single day. One in three women will be raped in her lifetime. 94.5% of the rape victims are female compared to the 5.5% of the rape victims who are male; and 84.8% of the sexual assault victims are female compared to the 15.2% of the sexual assault victims who are male.

Though Black women are 7% of the U.S. population, they are 27% of the rape and sexual assault victims. Black women are raped at a higher rate than White women. For every one White woman that reports her rape at least 5 White women do not report their rapes. And yet for every one African American woman that reports her rape at least 15 African American women do not report their rapes. Black women are less likely to report a crime of domestic violence or sexual assault; are less likely to have their cases come to trial; and are less likely to have their cases result in conviction than White women. Black girls between the ages of 9-12 are more frequently the victims of child sexual abuse than White girls. Today, 90% of the Black women who are raped are raped by Black men, and more than 85% of rape victims have some form of acquaintance with their perpetrators."

We think you all should get the point by now. Aishah Shahidah Simmons needs to finish this film, and still needs thousands of dollars to do so. Again, what we will be screening on Friday, March 7th, is a 74-minute rough-cut, which means some post-production work needs to be done on "NO!" Here are the details to make donations, and/or to reach out to Aishah Shahidah Simmons directly:

$50 and under should be made out to AfroLez Productions
$51 and up should be made out to Women Make Movies
All donations $51 and above are tax-deductible (Women Make Movies is the non-profit fiscal sponsor of NO!)
On all checks and/or money orders write "Donation for 'NO!'" on the memo line All donations and/or correspondence should be mailed to:
Aishah Shahidah Simmons
c/o AfroLez Productions
P.O. Box 58085
Philadelphia, PA 19102-8085
Phone: (215) 557-8154 Fax: (215) 972-8109
Email: (write "NO!" in the subject heading to insure a timely response)

We also highly encourage individuals/groups to set up screenings and lectures for Ms. Simmons and this important film on your college campus, or in your community/city.

Black Men in Support of the Film "NO!" (partial list).... Ras Baraka, Deputy Mayor, Newark, New Jersey; Poet/Educator St. Clair Bourne, Filmmaker Ulester Douglas, Co-Executive Director, Men Stopping Violence Alfred A. Edmonds, Jr., Sr. V.P./Editor-in-Chief, Black Enterprise magazine Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajaje', Professor of Cultural Studies/Islamic Studies, Starr King School/Graduate Theological Union Thomas Glave, Professor, English, SUNY-Binghamton Byron Hurt, Anti-Sexist Activist, Producer/Director, Beyond Beats and Rhymes Christopher C. Logan, Visual artist/DJ Mark Anthony Neal, Professor, English, SUNY-Albany Sulaiman Nuriddin, Manager, Men's Intervention Programs Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Professor, History, University of Connecticut Eternal Polk, Writer/Director; Producer, NFL Films Kevin Powell, Poet/Journalist/Activist; Founder, Hiphop Speaks Marcus Reeves, Writer/Publisher, Romarc Media Michael Simmons, Regional Director for Europe, American Friends Service Committee Alvin Starks, Associate Director, Open Society Institute Brook Stephenson, Thought Organizer/City Manager, Rolling Out Urbanstyle Weekly Kalamu ya Salaam, Editor, Writer, Filmmaker, Teacher, Moderator of e-drum listserve for Black writers Cheo Tyehimba, Writer/Educator/Activist

The evening will open with poetry pieces by MAHOGANY BROWNE and ANISA and an emcee freestyle performance by TONI BLACKMAN