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Meet Shaina Lynn Simmons

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaina Lynn Simmons.

Shaina is a New Orleans-born, LA-based Internationally acclaimed artist. She demands the healing of the Black woman’s experience in America through her work as an actress, writer, poet, multi-media artist, performance art, and Afro-Futurist. As the creator and a writer for pursuitofnappiness.org and contributor for HuffPost, Shaina cultivates spaces for analytical writing, love, and acceptance.

She is an RYT 200 yoga instructor offering local classes and private lessons. Shaina recently received her certification to instruct meditation through Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project. Currently, Shaina is studying at the Drama Therapy Institute of Los Angeles to become a Registered Drama Therapist. She recently received her Masters of Acting from the California Institute of the Arts.

Has it been a smooth road?
I have faced several challenges along my path many of which meet at the intersections of being Black, a woman, and from New Orleans. While this triple consciousness is essential to the #BlackGirlMagic I manifest it has also been the source of discrimination and judgement. At a very young age I learned that the people in the world around me had very strong and unfortunately negative opinion of the skin I’m in. I grew up in New Orleans with beautiful dark skin, a young black girl in the racist south. I speak more about my experience with colorism and how New Orleans holds a history that is responsible for many of the American ideologies of race that still plague the minds of so many in my one woman show Bayou Blues.

As I got older and left New Orleans after evacuating due to Hurricane Katrina, I was faced with some of the same issues of  being judged by others for existing “too black” for comfort; a woman- therefore deemed unworthy or respect; and too “naturally New Orleans” for others. Despite the many setbacks that I’ve faced I’ve taken the sourest of lemons and made the sweetest lemonade-my art. Most recently turning my true live struggles as a black millenial in the 45 era into a comedic 4 part web series, Shaina Shaina.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
My new web series Shaina Shaina is live on YouTube now. The audience bares witness to my experience of living at the intersections of being black, a woman, and a millennial. It shows the dual realities of dealing with daily microaggressions. You get to step into my inner truth, boldness and honesty I aspire to express when faced with misdirected racist remarks and societal pressure. A truth that sometimes is how I react in real life, but often times I must choose my battles especially when racisms’s petty is so plentiful and deeply ingrained into the infrastructure of America. Episodes reflect The Job Interview, The Women’s March, The Love Interest, and the classic moment when white women ask, Can I Touch Your Hair?

Ep.1 The Women’s March https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX3V2cBXado

Ep. 2- The Job Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dCd-DXm-7c&t=10s

Ep.3- The Love Interest https://youtu.be/2Re87AF-Sus

Finale Ep- https://youtu.be/y2rijSGtiZc.

Season 2 is coming early 2019 and dives deeper into build a full story that follows You can support the production of Season 2 by pledging as little as $3/month through patreon : www.patreon.com/theShainaLynn In exchange you get exclusive content!

Definitely check out my website theshainalynn.com  to learn more about my writings, Bayou Blues, and Twerk Til Exhaustion. As well as my video and live performance installation AfroFuturo, which examines the Orishas and their connection to the historical, mythological, and contemporary realities of women of the diaspora.

If you’re ever in Los Feliz come twerk yoga with me on Sunday 11a, Monday at 4p, Friday 9a.

You can even book a private yoga, twerk, and meditation session live or virtually by contacting me directly through my site.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles has showed itself to be truly a Wild Wild West. The perfect combination of dreams, drama, and drive. Where else could I teach twerk yoga, audition for your soon-to-be new favorite movie/tv show, produce my experimental Afro-futuristic performance art, and go to the beach or hike in the same day? At least in the states, its compared to none in that sense.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Andrew Wofford and Dan Centofanti

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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