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The recently concluded West Out Way Movie Festival unveiled a thought-provoking film titled „KOKOMO CITY,“ which authentically and sincerely delves into the lives of women whose stories diverge from the norm. These narratives, unexplored and unfamiliar to us, rarely elicit our empathy. However, the film’s compelling portrayal challenges this status quo. It highlights the struggles of women, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds – including Black individuals, transgender individuals, and sex workers.

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Directed by D. Smith, a Grammy-nominated songwriter-producer, „KOKOMO CITY“ is a poignant USA documentary released in 2023. The film is shot in black and white, a stylistic choice that intensifies its impact. It intimately follows the journeys of four Black transgender sex workers in both New York and Georgia. These individuals navigate the complex intersection between their identities and the expectations within the black community.


Throughout the documentary, candid discussions with these four protagonists offer unfiltered insights into their lives. The film captures their moments of joy and sorrow, delves into their experiences of depth and shallowness, and prompts introspection about their sense of belonging and identity within the broader black community and society as a whole.

„KOKOMO CITY“ has resonated deeply with both audiences and critics, garnering accolades and praise. It secured prestigious audience awards at both the Sundance and Berlin film festivals. Executive produced by Lena Waithe, „KOKOMO CITY“ clinched the Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT Innovator Award and NEXT Audience Award, as well as the Audience Award in the Panorama Documentary section at the Berlinale. Notably, during its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the documentary also received the Sundance Audience Award.

Regrettably, the film is dedicated to the memory of Koko Da Doll, also known as Rasheeda Williams. Tragically, she was murdered merely two months after the film’s Sundance premiere. Koko Da Doll served as a beacon of inspiration for countless young Black transgender girls. Her legacy lives on through the impact of „KOKOMO CITY,“ which resonates deeply with those who yearn for a more inclusive and empathetic understanding of diverse lives.

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