This segment of NO! The Rape Documentary (2006) was filmed five-months before Essex Hemphill joined the ancestors in 1995. It was edited two years-later when producer/director Aishah Shahidah Simmons raised the funds in 1997. Funding for this segment was provided by Activists Inelle Cox Bagwell & Pat Clark, Poet Sonia Sanchez and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Gratitude bow in honor of Dr. Kai M. Green for making this segment a stand alone video in 2018.
Essex Hemphill was an award-winning Black Gay Poet and Activist whose work unapologetically addressed race, identity, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, masculinity, patriarchy and rape culture both outside of Black communities and from within Black communities. Hemphill was the editor of the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology Brother to Brother: New Writing by Black Gay Men (1991). He received the National Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual New Author Award for his first full-length collection, Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry, which was published in 1992. His work is featured the critically acclaimed and award-winning films Looking for Langston (1989) by Isaac Julien, Tongues Untied (1989) and Black Is … Black Ain’t (1994) both by Marlon Riggs, and Black Nations/Queer Nations? (1994) by Shari Frilot.
Hemphill died from complications related to AIDS in Philadelphia on November 4, 1995. He was 38-years old.
Hemphill is featured in award-winning white gay historian Martin Duberman's dual biography "Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS" (The New Press, 2014).
Hemphill is also featured in award-winning Black lesbian filmmaker and artist Tiona Nekkia McClodden's Af-fixing Ceremony: Four Movements for Essex, 2015. This interactive multimedia online installation was commissioned by the Institute for Contemporary Art for World AIDS Day.