Shayla Racquel

Shayla Racquel is the quintessential creative – born and raised in South Carolina but currently living in the city of Washington, DC. She believes she gained her creative and entrepreneurial spirit from her grandparents Joseph & Evelyn Thompson, both owning thriving Black businesses in Columbia, SC. Diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease at birth and having a stroke at the young age of 12, her childhood battle with the disease is what brought her closer to the art of storytelling and the love of filmmaking. Shayla Racquel is the creator of the award-winning webseries Quarter Century, a narrative series following a group of post-grads trying to figure out what it means to be “grown.” The series has two seasons under its belt – the first set in the eclectic city of Washington, DC and the second taking place in the heart of New York. In 2015, Shayla Racquel wrote, directed, and edited a short film titled Life’s Checklist. The short film was an official selection in six film festivals and has won three awards, including Best Student Short Film. In 2018, Shayla Racquel completed her thesis capstone film titled Riverment. Riverment discusses intergenerational trauma while comparing and contrasting Black empowerment movements. The film follows the relationship between a grandmother and a granddaughter to highlight how women have been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of all movements. Riverment is currently wrapping up the film festival circuit – 30 official selections and fourteen awards to date including a Student Emmy in the category of fiction long-form. The film was acquired by Magic Johnson’s cable television network Aspire, and can be viewed in the syndicated Urban Indie Film Block titled, “Stand Up!” Shayla Racquel was tapped as the lead director of the digital series Southern Fried Rice, written by the independent screenwriting label Damn Write Originals. The series received a major development deal and is currently looking for a network home to debut in 2020. Shayla Racquel bleeds Orange & Green, holding a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from the illustrious Florida A&M University. In 2018, she received her Masters of Fine Arts in Film & Electronic Media from American University. Her felicific smile and appreciation for life brightens the room – you will know Shayla Racquel when she greets you with, “Smiles are contagious so get sick!”