Although American Sign Language performers have been featured at every Super Bowl since 1992, this February 7th, Warren “Wawa” Snipe offered the most high-profile ASL rendition of the national anthem in the event’s history. After two intensive weeks of practicing, Snipe’s presentation of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “American the Beautiful” went viral, prompting tweets, news coverage, and clips of highlights to whiz across the internet.
Hip-Hop Through Deaf Eyes
Calling himself “a rapper who happens to be deaf” and describing his work as “Hip Hop through deaf eyes,” Snipe has brought more visibility both to deaf culture and hip-hop, as well as to the intersection between the two. Snipe is working to change the cultural marginalization and oversight that too often discounts deaf artists.
Snipe’s Super Bowl show-stopper and the subsequent online attention were a major breakthrough. Sports journalist Darren M. Haynes tweeted, “I don’t know about y’all, but Warren ‘WAWA’ Snipe stole the show!!!” Touchdown!