Thirty years ago, a group of Black students came together at the pre-orientation program at Yale known as Cultural Connections to create a space on the campus of Yale University where their voices - and the music they loved - could be heard. Led by Titilayo Ngwenya, Shades has risen to become one of Yale's premiere a cappella groups since the group's inception in 1988. Our name in itself stands as a testament to our appreciation of diversity within the group as we celebrate the depth and complexity of the Black experience.
As a non-profit co-educational a cappella group with humble roots, Shades has toured both domestically and internationally over the years, going as far as Costa Rica, Ireland, South Africa, Japan, and China! In addition, Shades has sang alongside Black music icons such as Lenny Kravitz, Angelique Kidjo, and Sweet Honey in the Rock, and performed for the late Nelson Mandela, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and former President Barack Obama.