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Kim Kardashian finally deletes tweet misidentifying murdered Black trans woman after days of pleading from the grieving family

Lily Wakefield June 17, 2020
Kim Kardashian Black trans lives matter

Kim Kardashian West. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty)

Kim Kardashian West tweeted a photo of a woman she thought was Riah Milton, a Black trans woman who was murdered last week, but it was the wrong person.

After pleading with her for days to remove the photo, Riah’s family are now questioning her commitment to Black trans lives.

Riah was shot dead in Liberty Township, Cincinnati, last week after she was “lured” by a group who wanted to rob her of her vehicle. 

Her sister, Ariel, posted about her death on Twitter. On top of her grief, she has also had to deal with authorities and the media misgendering and deadnaming her late sister.

On Friday, June 12, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a statement on Riah’s death, but instead of using her photo, they used a picture of her recently deceased aunt.

Ariel told Buzzfeed that she contacted the author of the HRC piece, who quickly apologised and changed the photo. HRC later issued a formal apology.

But shortly after, she said, she was “completely shocked” to see that Kim Kardashian West had tweeted the same incorrect photo to her millions of followers alongside a photo of Dominique Rem’mie Fells, another Black trans woman who was murdered last week, with the words “Black trans lives matter”.

Ariel said: “This added a whole other level of stress on top of everything else that I was dealing with, especially because I saw that the photo was being retweeted.”

She desperately tweeted Kardashian West asking for the photo to be removed, and implored friends to do the same.

But despite hundreds of messages, Kardashian West’s post remained up.

Riah’s cousin Maurisha, whose mother Shanna had been mistaken for Riah, said she was “very upset” when she saw the photo of her mother who had unexpectedly passed away in April.

She told Buzzfeed: “Everyone else used the same picture of Riah except Kim, and it makes me question if she really cares about Black trans lives.

“My mom and my cousin Riah do not look alike at all.”

Maurisha added: “It’s trendy to say that you support Black lives because nowadays you will get called out.”

The post by Kardashian West contributes to the erasure of Black trans women who already extreme violence, she said, and “easy for [cis celebrities] to just post these graphics and act like they’re in solidarity with Black trans women and the Black Lives Matter movement and go on with their day without doing the actual work because it’s not directly affecting them.”

Kardashian West eventually removed the tweet, three days after she posted it, when Buzzfeed reached out to her for comment. She has not publicly acknowledged her mistake or apologised.

More: black trans lives matter, Dominique "Rem'Mie" Fells, kim kardashian, kim kardashian west, murder, Riah Milton

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