LAMP Alumna Taprena Augustine- From Broadway to the Big Screens

Friday, December 10, 2021

When it came to making the most of college, Taprena Augustine (B.A. ’98, Individualized Major and LAMP certificate) did it all. Augustine (whose stage name is simply ‘Taprena’) created her own major at IU in Music Business, in which she took classes in audio, business law, and various other subjects. Through the Individualized Major Program, she also got IU credit for music-industry courses she took at Belmont University in Nashville.

Augustine also spent a few summers during college interning for Sony Music Entertainment in New York City.  Back at IU, she was a lead singer for the African American Choral Ensemble, and Lead Vocalist for the IU Soul Revue and female gospel group Sojourner. She also founded and was Artistic Director for IU ESSENCE, an award-winning hip-hop dance company that remains active to this day.

After graduation, Augustine was a professional background singer for various R&B artists when she realized she wanted a change. After an inspiring vacation to New York City, Augustine pivoted from music and began working more in theatre.  Augustine set up several interviews during her trip to New York, and in just one week she had booked a regional Broadway tour and various other theater productions.  Since then, she has been featured in many roles including the infamous “Shug Avery” in The Color Purple, for which she won the Broadway World Best Feature Actress in a Musical (Touring) award. 

Augustine’s regional Broadway resume gave her credibility in New York and allowed her to get interviews with many reputable agents. This helped advance her transition to her current work as an actress on both television shows and films.  She has landed many impressive roles and is one of the few actors that have acted in both Marvel and DC television shows, appearing in Marvel’s Jessica Jones and DC’s Gotham.

In any domain, Augustine feels like she can present herself with confidence and ease. She credits LAMP with giving her “enough variety in education to be confident in all arenas. From record labels, to business meetings, to studios, I was well prepared and had solid knowledge when those doors were opened for me.”

Off-set, Augustine enjoys working on music and is negotiating the release of her first project as a solo singer/songwriter.  Through her projects, she hopes to tell untold stories that usually aren’t represented in TV, film, music. She also plans to write a book. 

Augustine lives large, with her favorite part of her job being the freedom that comes with traveling and making a living while doing what she’s passionate about. She recommends that current LAMPers live as large as they can. “The world's natural inclination is to limit you in whatever way it can. Your job is to simply stay sane and never say 'NO' to yourself, everyone else will do that for you; so you have to be your biggest champion.”

Follow @taprena on Instagram and keep a lookout for her on screens near you! We love to hear from our alumni about their various professional experiences. We invite LAMP alumni of all ages to fill out our Stay in Touch form on the LAMP website.

Feature compiled by LAMP intern Kate Bangert; edited by LAMP staff.