Bell, Shamell

Co-founder, Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles chapter




Field Value
ID 94
Title An oral history with Shamell Bell
Date 2016-11-18
OH ID OH 5950
Citation Shamell Bell interviewed by Carie Rael, November 18, 2016, Los Angeles, California, Oral History #5950, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
Restricted false
Created At 2017-07-30 19:18:19 UTC
Location Los Angeles, CA
Language English
Subjects Family → Childhood Experiences
Family → Grandparents
Family → Family Histories and Traditions
Family → Divorce → Single Parent Home
Law and Public Policy → Welfare
Activism → Anti-poverty
Family → Siblings
Entertainment and Culture
Health, Medicine, and Awareness → Mental Health
Race Relations
Race Relations → Black-White Race Relations
Education → Early Childhood Education
Education → Higher Education
Colleges → University of Southern California (USC)
Religion → Christianity
African American → People → Trayvon Martin
Direct Action → Marches
Gender and Sexuality → Gender Roles
Family → Parenting → Motherhood
Family → Childhood Experiences → children of immigrants or refugees
Religion → Spirituality
African American → Organizations → Black Women's Health Project
Gender and Sexuality → Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) - should this be under 'Health, Medicine, Awareness' ?
Health, Medicine, and Awareness
Activism → Anti-Police Brutality Activism
Racial Inequality
African American → People → Martin Luther King, Jr.
African American → People → Malcolm x
Colleges → University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
Police and Law Enforcement → Community Relations and Law Enforcement
African American → Organizations → Black Lives Matter
African American → People → Melina Abdullah
Police and Law Enforcement → Police Department → Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)
Activism → Dance Activism
Locations → South Los Angeles/South Central Los Angeles


An oral history of Shamell Bell, a founding member of the Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles Chapter [BLM-LA]. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics and Activism Since Suffrage for California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History. Specifically, this interview talks about her parent’s background and personal history; briefly talks about her siblings; further discusses her mother’s early childhood in Mississippi and their personal relationship; recalls her childhood living in South Central Los Angeles and Inglewood; briefly mentions performing in music videos and her early life in beauty pageants; recalls moving to Georgia briefly as well as experiencing and understanding race and class there; experiences of racism in Los Angeles versus Georgia; goes into detail about economic, structural racism in Los Angeles and uses her early education as an example; discusses her early relationship with the entertainment industry; talks about her high school years and her path towards college; recalls attending Spelman College and facing discrimination; goes into detail about managing her health while attending University of Santa Barbra, University of Southern California, and Los Angeles Trade Technical College; shares her religious views; recalls three times she almost died; talks about her relationship with Dr. Melina Abdullah and the impact of planning Justice for Trayvon Martin Los Angeles; discusses her original role at meetings for BLM-LA and her experience meeting Sybrina Fulton at the Justice or Else March; explains how she started doing community organizing after the George Zimmerman verdict; further discusses the Trayvon Martin walk; explains the importance of sharing the founding members of BLM-LA stories; further discusses her early life and survival mode, her relationship with her mother, and growing up with families outside of her immediate; talks about the relationships she has formed with other women in BLM-LA as well as the division that has occurred; discusses leaving the core leadership of BLM-LA, online harassment, and the forms of self-healing for mental and physical health; talks about healing from dance activism; recalls using dance activism at Occupy LAPD and Occupy LA Mayor; the resistance she has faced for using dance activism from “insiders and outsiders”; goes into detail about utilizing dance activism for a cultural revolution; shares her family’s response to her activism; shares a story involving her son and his understanding of race, class, and the prison system; gives advice to individuals wanting to get involved in activism; states she is most proud of her son; explains the importance of letting individuals tell their stories; recalls how she met Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley and how he became her mentor; briefly discusses her scholarships; ends with how Kelley was formative in her attending graduate school.


File Name 5950_P01.jpg
Content Type image/jpeg
Size 1050947
Description> Shamell Bell, 2016.