Remembering Koko Da Doll: Black Trans Women Face Epidemic-Level Violence in America

Koko Da Doll, a prominent figure in the transgender community and a subject of the award-winning documentary “Kokomo City,” was shot and killed in Atlanta on Tuesday.[0] She was 35 years old.[1] Koko, whose given name was Rasheeda Williams, was one of four Black trans women featured in the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.[2] The documentary, directed by Grammy-nominated producer, singer, and songwriter D. Smith, portrays the lives of the women as they navigate the dichotomy between their community and themselves, as well as the threat of violence they face every day.

Smith released a statement on Instagram, saying, “Rasheeda, aka Koko Da Doll, was the latest victim of violence against Black transgender women.[3] I created ‘Kokomo City’ because I wanted to show the fun, humanized, natural side of Black trans women.[2] I wanted to create images that didn’t show the trauma or the statistics of murder of Transgender lives.[3] I wanted to create something fresh and inspiring.[4] I did that.[5] We did that![5] But here we are again.”

Koko’s death marks the third shooting of transgender women in Atlanta this year, two of which resulted in fatalities.[6] The Atlanta Police Department said in a tweet on Thursday that it is investigating three violent crimes against transgender women this year and is aware of the “epidemic-level violence black and brown transgender women face in America.”

An online fundraiser has been set up to cover Koko’s funeral arrangements, raising over $12,000 as of this writing.[7] The description reads, “Koko was well known in the LGBTQ community here in Atlanta. Koko was one of Atlanta’s finest and most loving transgender women. Koko had a heart of gold and spread nothing but love and light to those she came across.[4] To know Koko is to love her.”

Koko’s death has sparked an outpouring of grief and support from the LGBTQ community, with the Sundance Film Festival sharing a tribute on social media: “We are saddened to hear about the death of Rasheeda Williams aka Koko Da Doll.[8] We were honored to have her at the festival this year with ‘Kokomo City,’ where she reminded Black trans women, ‘We can do anything, we can be whatever we want to be.’ It is a tragic loss.”

Smith added, “It’s extremely difficult to process Koko’s passing, but as a team, we are more encouraged now than ever to inspire the world with her story.[9] To show how beautiful and full of life she was.[10] She will inspire generations to come and will never be forgotten.” The investigation into Koko’s death is ongoing.

0. “Trans documentary star Koko Da Doll reportedly found dead in Atlanta” FOX 17 West Michigan News, 21 Apr. 2023,

1. “Koko Da Doll Is ‘Latest Victim of Violence Against Black Transgender Women,' Says Kokomo City” MovieMaker Magazine, 21 Apr. 2023,

2. “Transgender TV star, 35, shot dead”, 21 Apr. 2023,

3. “Trans woman starring in award-winning documentary fatally shot in Atlanta” The Guardian US, 22 Apr. 2023,

4. “Koko Da Doll, Black Trans Sundance Star, Killed at Age 35” Rolling Stone, 21 Apr. 2023,

5. “Kokomo City star Koko Da Doll is found fatally shot at 35 in Southwest Atlanta” Daily Mail, 21 Apr. 2023,

6. “Trans Woman Featured In Hit Sundance Documentary ‘Kokomo City’ Shot And Killed In Atlanta” Yahoo Entertainment, 21 Apr. 2023,

7. “”Epidemic-Level Violence”: US Trans Woman And Documentary Star Shot Dead” NDTV, 21 Apr. 2023,

8. “Koko Da Doll, Star of ‘Kokomo City’ Sundance Documentary, Found Dead in Atlanta” Hollywood Reporter, 21 Apr. 2023,

9. “Koko Da Doll, Star of Trans Doc ‘Kokomo City,’ Dead at 35: Sundance Breakout Found Shot in Atlanta” IndieWire, 21 Apr. 2023,

10. “Koko Da Doll dead: Trans Kokomo City star dies aged 35 after ‘fatal gunshot'” Express, 21 Apr. 2023,

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