Rasheeda Williams, a 35-year-old transgender star known as Koko Da Doll, has tragically passed away after being fatally shot in Atlanta. Williams had recently appeared in the documentary Kokomo City, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film explored the issues that Black trans sex workers face and the threat of violence they encounter.
Kokomo City was highly celebrated at Sundance and received the Adobe NEXT Innovator Award and the audience trophy. The police are currently investigating the incident after they were called to the scene on the night of April 18th. Upon arrival, officers found Williams with an apparent gunshot wound, and she was pronounced dead on the scene by the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.
The homicide investigators are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the investigation is ongoing. D. Smith, who directed the acclaimed documentary, paid tribute to Williams, saying: “Rasheeda, aka Koko Da Doll, was the latest victim of violence against Black transgender women.”
Smith created Kokomo City to show the fun, humanized, and natural side of Black trans women and to inspire the world with their story. Co-star Daniella Carter mourned Williams on Instagram, expressing her shock and heartbreak at the loss of her sister.
Dominique Silver, who was also part of the documentary, added: “WE WILL GET JUSTICE FOR YOU AND PLEASE PROTECT BLACK TRANS WOMEN AT ALL COST! This s**t is getting RIDICULOUS. Rest in Power my beautiful sister… until we meet again.” The official Sundance Twitter account also expressed their condolences, saying: “We are saddened to hear about the death of Rasheeda Williams aka Koko Da Doll. It is a tragic loss.”
The passing of Rasheeda Williams is another tragic reminder of the violence faced by Black transgender women. It highlights the urgent need to address systemic discrimination and take meaningful action to protect the lives and rights of all transgender individuals.