by Aishah Shahidah Simmons
It is with deep sadness and profound devastation that I share that radical Black/Pan-African feminist activist and social psychologist Aaronette M. White, Ph.D., recently made her physical transition. While there is presently uncertainty about the exact date and time of her sudden death, no foul play or harm was done to her in the last hours of her life. Her body was found in her apartment on Tuesday, August 14, 2012. The belief is that she suffered an aneurysm. She was 51-years old.
Aaronette was one of my dear and close friends who was also a trusted confidante. I first met her in September 1996 at the Black, Male & Feminist/Womanist conference, which was organized by Black Men for the Eradication of Sexism, a student group at Morehouse College. At that point, I was barely in year two of the twelve-year journey to make my feature-length film NO! The Rape Documentary. Thanks to radical, trailblazing Black feminist scholar-activist, and Big Sister-friend Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D., who is the founding director of Spelman College’sWomen’s Research and Resource Center and their Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies, I was invited to be a presenter at the conference. In remembering that historic gathering, Beverly wrote,
[…]Though not many of us were at Morehouse in 1996 (bell hooks was also there as the keynote speaker), it was a critical moment in the development of a young cohort of brothers who claimed unapologetically their allegiance to [B]lack feminists and FEMINISM!!!!
It was a powerful moment in which some friendships, camaraderies, and allegiances were formed and are still going strong today.