Red Curtain in a theatre .jpg

Our Mission

BlackLight is a community for people of color to empower one another through life, performance, & well being.

Our Story

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 the shows appropriately. She noticed the struggle from the teacher's first hand. The professers struggled 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. Her mentors/friends like Andre Stith,  Amanda Leive, Karl Hawkins, and Kaylin Kellin, inspired her to solidify BlackLight Community legal representation to open doors for poc artists in theatre nationwide.   

2020 was a direct reflection on what minorities face every single day and it 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 at BlackLight Community Inc.

Executive, India Shanelle

 “We will overcome the shadows of oppression that we face in this country by bringing our art to light”

-India Shanelle.

India Shanelle
Founder/CEO