Shamell Bell is a mother, community organizer, dancer/choreographer, and doctoral candidate in Culture and Performance at UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures/Dance department. Bell received her M.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego and B.A. with Honors in American Studies and Ethnicity specializing in African American Studies at the University of Southern California.
Her work on what she calls, "street dance activism" situates street dance as grassroots political action from her perspectives as a scholar, dancer, and choreographer. Shamell’s research examines street dance movements in South Central Los Angeles through an ethnographic and performance studies lens. Her street dance experience includes featured roles in music videos, award shows, and tours.
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 social justice organizations such as the BLM network, Blackout For Human Rights, The Undercommons at UCLA, among others. She also consults for social justice impact in the tv, film, and music industry with credits such as “community engagement consultant” for George Tillman Jr.'s film adaptation of Angie Thomas' best selling book, "The Hate U Give".
Shamell is also a member of a think tank for actor, activist, and rapper Common's philanthropic company, Think Common. She often teaches alongside her 7 year old son, Seijani, who focuses on meditation and mindfulness. They were featured in Common’s supergroup, August Greene’s promo campaign for their first single, “Be Optimistic”. She and her son also serve as Radical Joy Advisors to "Contra Tiempo," a role created by the Urban Latin Dance Theater Company with a focus on healing, socially astute performance and community engagement.