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Sex Workers and The Media

April 7, 2008

A Tale Of Two Strippers…
by Aishah Shahidah Simmons

Sometime last fall Michael Simmons, my father and comrade in the international struggles to end violence against women, called me to share his passionate rage about all of the positive hype around Diablo Cody’s, (the very talented Academy Award® Winning screenwriter of the film Juno, directed by Jason Reitman) herstory as a stripper to support herself while writing screenplays. Media outlets, from National Public Radio to Entertainment Tonight, raved about “the stripper turned Hollywood screenwriter.”

Before my feminist sisters get upset, I want to be clear that Michael’s (and my) passionate rage isn’t about Sister Diablo Cody. This is not an anti-sex worker piece/peace. While I, as a Black feminist lesbian, critique a patriarchal, sexist, and misogynist world where sex work is, for countless women in the world, the only viable option to make a living, I do not and will not ever critique women for “choosing” sex work to financially support themselves.

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Michael Simmons Challenges Homophobia in the African-American Community

March 12, 2008

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Michael Simmons, an international human rights activist who,with his partner Linda Carranza, co-founded the Raday Salon in Budapest Hungary, recently wrote comments about his thoughts on the responsibility of African-Americans who are heterosexual to speak out against homophobia. Following are his comments:

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Women’s History Month | Screening of NO! The Rape Documentary @ Raday Salon in Budapest Hungary

March 12, 2008

Violence Against Women| Screening of NO! at Raday Salon in Budapest Hungary

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After a long hiatus of screenings, book signings, and lectures, the Raday Salon kicks off its 2008 season with a screening of NO! The Rape Documentary to commemorate Women’s History Month. This is not the first time that Raday Salon has hosted screenings and discussions of NO! The Rape Documentary both as a rough cut and now as a completed documentary to standing room only audiences. However given the horrific and unfortuante global manifestation of sexual violence, combined with requests from people who have not had the opportunity to view the documentary, Linda Carranza and Michael Simmons, the Salon’s co-founders, are hosting an encore screening.

“...We have developed many new ties with folks who are new to Budapest or just new to our Salon, who have expressed an interest in seeing the film. We would be happy to see both old and new Salon friends at this showing, especially as the discussion is always different and brings up new observations every time we show the film…” will be an encore screening and discussion of NO! The Rape Documentary.” — Linda Carranza & Michael Simmons

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Black History Month | Screening of NO! The Rape Documentary @ The Brecht Forum

March 12, 2008

Black History Month | Screening of NO! The Rape Documentary @ The Brecht Forum

On February 7, 2008, there was an almost standing room only screening NO! The Rape Documentary at the Brecht Forum. Immediately following the screening there was a very lively panel discussion with Ejeris Dixon, the Program Coordinator of the Safe OUTside the System Collective, Ebony Noelle Golden, poet and organizer, who is a founding member of UBUNTU and other groups in the Durham area after the Duke lacrosse case, and Michael Simmons, who is an international human rights activist and a featured interviewee in NO!. Unfortunately, due to illness, Salamishah Tillet, who was scheduled to moderate the discussion, wasn’t able to participate in the conversation.

One of the people who attended is a member of an organization called “SAFER (Students Active for Ending Rape)“, an advocacy group in the US which works to improve universities’ response to sexual assaults in the campus environment. After attending the event, she wrote two reaction pieces on the SAFER organization’s blog, which you can read by clicking the following two links.
NO! A Documentary about Rape
NO! Part 2

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