Shelly Hilliard was a 19-year-old transgender woman living in Detroit when she was brutally murdered. Now, a new team of storytellers is setting out to tell the story of her life and her family’s search for closure. “TransParent; A Story of Loss in a Community Misunderstood” is a new film written by Detroit poet and queer activist Natasha T. Miller and directed by hip-hop journalist dream hampton.
The project recently raised more than $30,000 on Kickstarter.
As a longtime journalist, hampton is widely known for her profiles of hip-hop luminaries, including Snoop Dogg, 2pac and, more recently, her bestselling book with Jay Z called “Decoded.” She writes about the film:
TransParent is a film about the life of Shelley “Treasure” Hilliard, a Detroit 19-year-old girl, beloved by her family and friends. TransParent is a film about Shelley’s murder, about a hate crime that wasn’t prosecuted as one. TransParent is about the struggle to forgive. TransParent is about Detroit. TransParent is about projections and perceptions and communities misrepresented and misunderstood. TransParent is about incredible beauty and horrific violence. TransParent is about a grieving mother and her commitment to honor her daughter, Treasure.
Hilliard’s death made national news after it was revealed that she had been forced to work as an informant for the Madison Height’s police in suburban Detroit. Hilliard’s mother later sued the department, claiming that police revealed her identity to drug dealers who later killer her. You can read more about the case at AlterNet.