BlackLight is a community for people of color to empower one another through life, performance, & well being.
Pre-graduation in 2016, India Shanelle noticed a lack of representation within the staff and students at Southeast Missouri State University Theatre & Dance Conservatory. It became apparent when SEMO produced shows that were period based or heavy on discrimination. There wasn't enough representation within the department (Both faculty and Students) to execute appropriately. She noticed the struggle from the teacher's first hand; how to express to minority actors what they needed within the context of racial issues or moments in the script that required diving into oppressive content.
She started a support group called BlackLight for black people in the department to have a space to vent and artistically express themselves.
After graduating, India began her theatre career nationwide and realized that proper minority representation did not exist. After moving to New York City in 2019, she was inspired by the integration of culture that NYC possesses and by her mentors/friends like Andre Stith (of LCA), Karl Hawkins, and Kaylin Kellin. India decided to turn her support group into a national organization that will help POC artists all over the world.
2020 was a direct reflection on what minorities face every single day. 2020 was the catapult to show people what we need to focus on moving forward, which is equal representation across the board, thus bringing importance to our mission.
“We will overcome the shadows of oppression that we face in this country by bringing our art to light”