Black Women, Sex Work & Stigma #TjhishaAndAngelia

When I was interviewed for an article about Black sex workers last week,  it wasn’t the story of an actress and her white boyfriend that was on my mind. It was the murders of  and .

“the bodies of Angelia Mangum, 19, and Tjhisha Ball, 18 were spotted on the side of a road around 1 a.m. yesterday. The bodies were reportedly bound with zip ties, naked and on top of one another. Read more at EBONY

Donate to the families of#TjhishaAndAngelia HERE

It wasn’t just the ghastly way they were discovered or the brutal way they were murdered it the reaction of civvies and the news media at large. Several news sources published their mug shots, identified them only as strippers in that demeaning tone that stopped just short of ‘they asked for it’.

When I shared the story on my private Facebook, the only word I could describe it was “scary”.  It scares me to the core, it wasn’t that long ago I was making those after show trips in the dead of night. It scares me because during those trips I feared being arrested, I feared for my life and most of all I feared what I would be reduced to if I lost my life.

Black women are rarely seen as “good victims”, the kind that get respect and dignity in death and life. Black sex workers face a two-sided stigma of not only being hated for performing sexuality, but for doing in a highly politicized black body.  We are simultaneously victims of sexist racism, while being accused of being the cause of it. So its no surprise the few outlets that reported these murders did so in such a poor fashion.

While there will most likely be no Nancy Grace specials profiling the humanity of these teens, I’m happy that outlets like Ebony have taken a look at how their fellows are reporting the story and taking them to task. I’m also incredible proud that sex workers have reached out to the victims families to offer support.

I know this is a long shot but if you or anyone you know has any information that could be useful PLEASE contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or email Anonymous tips can also be provided to Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

If you can please donate to the family of the slain girls who are struggling to pay for their funeral costs.


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Author: N'jaila

N'jaila Rhee grew up in north New Jersey and graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communication media from Rutgers University in 2009. Rhee began exotic dancing while attended classes at Rutgers, and still dances at special events. Currently working professionally in media in the NYC metro area, she enjoys writing erotica, eating Nilla wafers and giggling at the word "balls".