Koko Da Doll in KOKOMO CITY, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Most of us in the media/entertainment/club industry have worked with and became friends and chosen family with trans Women. Although things are progressing, it is still hard for Trans women to be accepted and hence find it hard to get gainful employment. Therefore, many have no choice but to rely on sex work to pay their bills. Its even harder in the black/brown community, where I recently found out the average age of a Black/brown trans woman is only 35…read that again…only 35!! We, as a society, need to do better and protect our trans community!

In this entertaining and raw documentary KOKOMO CITY, filmmaker D. Smith focuses on four Black transgender sex workers in Atlanta and New York City – Koko Da Doll, Daniella Carter, Liyah Mitchell, and Dominique Silver – who each break down the walls sex work.

Kokomo City is the directorial debut of Smith who is a two-time Grammy-nominated producer and won the Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT Innovator Award and NEXT Audience Award, as well as the Berlinale’s Audience Award in the Panorama Documentary section.

D. Smith, director of KOKOMO CITY, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

This is not a film that sugarcoats anything, but rather interviews 4 trans sex workers, who do not hold anything back, and tell us all the horrifying encounters they have had, and their relationships with their families. They also talk about how this type of work effects them emotionally, as well as telling stories of friends who have contracted AIDS or have been murdered.  Unfortunately, just a few months after the film’s festival run, Koko Da Doll, one of the women featured, was fatally shot.

This is not an easy movie to watch, but it’s a movie I urge everyone to watch. 

Kokomo City will be playing in South Florida starting tonight, August 4, at O Cinema South Beach (1130 Washington Avenue) at 7 and 8:30pm.