Koko Da Doll, one of the trans women from the popular Sundance documentary Kokomo townwas found dead Tuesday night in Atlanta.
On Thursday, Kokomo town director D Smith in an Instagram post said the shooting and death of Koko Da Doll, whose first name is Rasheeda Williams, was “the latest victim of violence against black transgender women.”
“I made Kokomo town because I wanted to show the fun, humanized, natural side of black trans women. I wanted to create images that didn’t show the trauma or statistics of murdering transgender lives. I wanted to create something fresh and inspiring. I did. We did! But here we are again. It is extremely difficult to process Koko’s passing, but as a team we are now more than ever encouraged to inspire the world with her story. To show how beautiful and full of life she was. She will inspire future generations and will never be forgotten,” said the director of the documentary.
According to the Atlanta Police Department, officers responded to reports of a shooting at Martin Luther King Jr. just before 11 p.m. Drive SW. conscious or breathing and pronounced deceased at scene by AFR (Atlanta Fire Rescue Department). Police did not name the victim.
The statement continued: “Homicide detectives arrived at the scene and are working to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident. The investigation continues.”
Representatives for Cinetic Media and Magnolia Pictures, which has been acquired Kokomo town to his Sundance arc, referenced The Hollywood Reporter to D. Smith’s Instagram post, adding that they had no additional details.
Koko Da Doll was one of four black transgender sex workers, including Daniella Carter, Dominique Silver, and Liyah Mitchell, featured in D. Smith’s documentary. The feature film followed each of their experiences in New York and Atlanta as they explored the disconnect between the black community and themselves, as well as the threats they face every day.
The film won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival in January, including the NEXT Audience Award and the NEXT Innovator Award. In her review of the paper, THR critic Lovia Gayarkye wrote, “Violence – both real and anticipated – is the most obvious thematic thread, but competing for space and attention is beauty.”
The festival shared one tribute to Koko on his official Twitter account, writing: “We are saddened to hear about the death of Rasheeda Williams, aka Koko Da Doll. We were honored to have her at the festival this year Kokomo town, where she reminded black trans women, “we can do anything, we can be whatever we want to be.” It’s a tragic loss.”
Carter, one of the participants in the documentary as well went to Instagram, saying, “MY CASTMATE WAS KILLED LAST NIGHT. I am really at my wits end and in deep pain. Contact ATl PD if you have any tips. Please share this with everyone you know in atl.”
That’s what the Atlanta Police Department said Twitter the department is actively investigating three violent crimes involving transgender women this year and that “while these individual incidents are unrelated, we are deeply aware of the epidemic-level violence faced by black and brown transgender women in America.”