Shamell Bell

Shamell Bell is a mother, community organizer, and choreographer. An original member of the
#blacklivesmatter movement, beginning as a core organizer with Justice 4 Trayvon Martin Los
Angeles (J4TMLA)/Black Lives Matter Los Angeles to what she now describes as an Arts &
Culture liaison between several organizations such as the BLM network and Blackout For
Human Rights among others. Her work on “street dance activism” situates dance as grassroots
political action from her perspectives as a scholar, dancer, and choreographer. Shamell’s street
dance experience includes featured roles in music videos, award shows, and tours with artists
such as Will Smith, Christina Aguilera and Ludacris, and in David LaChapelle’s acclaimed
documentary “Rize” which features Miss Prissy, “The Queen of Krump”.
Building on her senior thesis, an ethnographic exploration of the Ranger$, a well-known dance
crew in LA’s Jerkin’ movement, Shamell’s research examines street dance movements in South
Central Los Angeles through an ethnographic and performance studies lens. Motivated by her
passion for justice, Shamell aims to create an ongoing dialogue between street dance, activist
and academic communities, highlighting the street dancer’s actual presence at academic
institutions in the form of dancing, speaking, teaching, and writing. When she is not occupying
the police station or leading chants at demonstrations with BLMLA, Shamell can be found
playing with her son, Seijani aka “Johnnie,” and even including him in peaceful demonstrations.