Shamell Bell is a mother, community organizer, choreographer and PhD student in Culture and Performance at University of California Los Angeles' World Arts and Cultures/Dance. Bell earned a Master of Arts in Ethnic Studies from University of California at San Diego and Bachelor of Arts with Honors in American Studies and Ethnicity specializing in African American Studies from the University of Southern California. Involved in the original formations of the #blacklivesmatter movement, she is a core organizer with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles alongside prominent organizers Patrisse Cullors and Professor Melina Abdullah. Her activism focuses on using her artistic talent and knowledge of arts and culture for the movement. She is also a member of Blackout 4 Human Rights with notable directors Ryan Coogler, Ava Duvernay, Jesse Williams, among others, serving as a community organizer liaison assisting with campaigns such as #Justice4Flint and #iKneelwithColin.
Bell's work on what she refers to as “street dance activism” situates dance as political action from her perspectives as a performance scholar, a dancer and an active member and choreographer for the Black Lives Matter movement. She has been featured as a dancer in David LaChapelle’s documentary "RIZE," as well as various music videos, award shows and tours. Her doctoral research currently extends this work with a performance studies lens and historio-geographical anaylsis of street dance movements in south central Los Angeles. Her passion is to create a dialogue between the street dance community, activist community and the academy that includes the street dancer’s actual presence at academic institutions in the form of dancing, speaking, teaching and writing.