Much has been made about the halftime entertainment for the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles since its announcement late last year.
While rap music among the most listened to genre today, it is not the “cup of tea” of many older adults.
Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J Blige will all be taking the stage as a part of the halftime show in what is sure to be a very busy 13 minutes.
Veteran entertainer Dr Dre is also bringing along something very special as a part of the show – Warren “Wawa” Snipe and Sean Forbes will be giving a visual interpretation of the performance via American Sign Language. Wawa and Forbes are performers who are also deaf.
Forbes spoke on the upcoming appearance saying, “the opportunity to be here at the Super Bowl is just unreal. I never in a million years dream of, imagined, ever being here. As a performer, this is about as high as it gets. It’s the biggest stage in the world. To be here, to represent the deaf community, and to really put ASL on the map.”
Wawa also spoke on the opportunity saying, “the 21st century, we’re starting to be seen. Many doors are opening throughout our community. Many people are seeing what our talented deaf people can do as actors, musicians, producers, directors, writers, artists in general. We are here and we are ready. We’ve been here and we’ve been knocking on that door for a long, long time, trying to gain this access.”
This will be the second Super Bowl appearance for Wawa who signed both the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful” last year at Raymond James Stadium.
This year Sandra Mae Frank will sign the anthem and “America the Beautiful” while Country music singer Mickey Guyton and R&B artist Jhene Aiko sing.
Wawa added, “it’s different and it’s historic. This has never happened before, where deaf people actually sign. Now is the time. I hope that this is a door open and it continues to be open for the halftime show from this point. We need that.”
Players from the California School for the Deaf will stand alongside players from the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angles Rams as honourary captains for the coin toss at mid-field.
National Association of the Deaf CEO Howard A. Rosenblum noted, “the mission of the NAD is to advance equal access and equality of deaf people, and there’s no bigger way to elevate visibility of ASL as an art form and to showcase the talents of deaf artists than the Super Bowl.”
NFL spokeswoman Jordyn White spoke on the inclusivity of the game and broadcast saying, “it’s all about us continuing to be more inclusive and providing more opportunities for everyone. It’s all about celebrating people for their differences, and coming together for the things we love. Inclusion is a priority for the league, and we hope the fans get to see that, especially at halftime and pregame.”
While closed captioning has been available for many years, it is akin to reading subtitles in a film as opposed to actually hearing…or seeing…the actual language.
Unfortunately, NBC has chosen to show only glimpses of Wawa and Forbes’ performances and only making it available in full via NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
feature photo credit: So Fi Stadium Facebook page