"Kokomo City": A Powerful Documentary On Black Transgender Sex Workers

Kokomo City documentary poster.

Welcome to "Kokomo City," a powerful documentary celebrating the authenticity and resilience of Black trans sex workers. 

Introduction To "Kokomo City"

"Kokomo City" is a captivating documentary directed by D. Smith, which sheds light on the lives of four Black transgender sex workers from Atlanta and New York: Daniella Carter, Koko Da Doll, Liyah Mitchell, and Dominique Silver. The film offers a fresh and empowering perspective on their journeys, celebrating diversity and authenticity. It bravely delves into the dichotomy between the Black community and these women, bringing their stories to the forefront after years of being overlooked. 

Getting To Know Each Protagonist

Daniella Carter

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Daniella Carter, a filmmaker and creative producer, stands as a notable advocate for LGBTQ+ youth. Her influence on the media landscape is far-reaching, with powerful talks at TED Talks Live, TEDxABQ, and TEDxMid-Atlantic conferences. In 2015, she was honored on the Trans 100 list and chosen for Obama's White House annual Emerging Leaders Day. Breaking barriers of race, class, and gender, Daniella's inspiring message resonates widely. Her collaborations with influential figures like Laverne Cox further showcase her dedication to making a difference and inspiring future generations. 

Koko Da Doll

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

At the heart of Atlanta, lived an extraordinary soul, Rasheeda Williams, known as Koko Da Doll. From the age of 13, she fearlessly embraced her true identity during her transition and ventured into the music industry. Under the captivating stage name "Hollywood Koko," she won hearts with her enchanting songs "Trick" and "Bulletproof." Beyond her musical talents, Koko aspired to create her hair brand, "Hollywood Koko Collections," but her profound impact as a powerful voice for transgender girls truly resonated. Tragically, her life was cut short at 35. She was shot last April, leaving a profound void in the hearts of the transgender community. 

Liyah Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Liyah Mitchell's remarkable journey began in a modest town with lofty dreams. Despite facing adversities in her youth, she discovered self-love and the belief that the past does not dictate the future. Tenacious and courageous, she passionately advocates for equal rights. Liyah identifies herself as a survivor, a warrior who has triumphed over challenges. She aspires to inspire other young girls like herself to believe in their potential. Her journey serves as a powerful testament that resilience knows no bounds and that embracing one's authentic self can lead to extraordinary achievements. 

Dominique Silver

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Dominique Silver, a rising star in the modeling world, collaborates with esteemed talents and uses her platform to champion equality. She also raises vital discussions about racism and inequalities. Her passion for driving positive change makes her an inspiring role model for aspiring models and activists alike. Dominique Silver's impact stretches beyond the runway, leaving a lasting impression on the fashion industry and society as a whole.

In their profession, these courageous women fearlessly break down barriers and infuse the film with contagious energy. Their journey combines passion, challenges, and wisdom gained from their unique experiences.  

D. Smith - The Multifaceted Visionary Behind The Project

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

D. Smith's mesmerizing talent and creativity shine through her debut feature film as a director, a captivating black and white portrait. 

"My first film, Kokomo City, is a raw, nerve-racking, yet rare look at the lives of Black transgender women exploring the dichotomy between the Black community and themselves. A conversation that has been avoided for far too many years is now in the spotlight," she explained in a press release.

As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that Smith's versatility as a filmmaker matches the diverse journeys of the film's protagonists. Beyond directing, she excels as a producer, singer, and songwriter, with two Grammy Award nominations to her name. Smith's pioneering spirit made history as the first transgender woman on a Primetime unscripted TV show, breaking barriers for greater inclusion and representation. Through this film, she eloquently expresses her convictions while humanizing the experiences of transgender individuals.

"I wanted to feel something untouched. Something that resembles my real experience. Something we can all relate to. Something without the rules and laws that divide us as people of color," she stated. "I wanted these women to have the freedom to speak as they are, to look like themselves, without pretenses or political constraints."

Impact And Recognition

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

The impact of "Kokomo City" is undeniable, and it has received prestigious awards such as the NEXT Innovator Award and the NEXT Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, along with the Audience Award at the Berlinale in the Panorama Documentary section.

D. Smith sees these distinctions as recognition of collective work and a powerful message: "To show and prove how beautiful yet vulnerable transgender women are."

"In this film, I was able to share the private lives of four transgender sex workers who are never publicly represented," she said. "I offered the girls freedom. The freedom to speak like us. To look like us. Not worrying about politics. Forget the makeup. Don't care about calling your charm team today. Just tell your story."

Exceptional Talents Behind The Scenes

This project is also driven by an exceptional team of talents. Alongside D. Smith, Eric Schnupp brings his expertise to sound, enhancing the immersive cinematic experience. The production team, with Harris Doran, Bill Butler, and D. Smith as producers, deserves recognition for their outstanding work. Executive producers Stacy Barthe, William Melillo, Rishi Rajani, and Lena Waithe contributed their creative flair and bold vision, ensuring an unforgettable final result. With their combined efforts, "Kokomo City" promises to deliver a cinematic experience that will leave audiences in awe.

Here's The Trailer For "Kokomo City"

Don't miss the opportunity to discover the captivating trailer for "Kokomo City." 

Release Date In Theaters

On July 28, 2023, mark your calendars for an extraordinary cinematic experience as the highly anticipated documentary "Kokomo City" comes to life on the big screen, exclusively in theaters for now. 

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Wednesday, 24 July 2024