DEAFinitley Dope Sign Language Interpreters to Join Chance the Rapper On Tour
Chance the Rapper wants all of his fans to enjoy his shows, especially those in the Deaf community. Prior to performing in Tampa, Florida on June 14, Chance, alongside Matthew Maxey of DEAFinitley Dope — an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter service — announced he would providing interpreters for the remainder of his Be Encouraged Tour. While some arenas provide ASL interpreters, oftentimes deaf people have to request or hire their own interpreters. Chance is one of the first major hip-hop artists to independently offer this service.
Update: Kelly Kurdi, the assistant manager for DEAFinitley Dope told The Mighty:
We were interpreting for the deaf patrons at Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee for Dram. Chance the Rapper happened to be backstage and saw Matt interpreting. He contacted the Access Team at Bonnaroo and asked to meet Matt. We went over to meet him later that evening and that’s when he asked what we were doing the next two weeks. He wanted to bring us in for the rest of his tour and include the Deaf community at all of his shows!
We are a team of deaf and hearing individuals who have come together with a shared passion for music, ASL, and change for the community. We have a deaf founder, deaf manager, and deaf videographer who creates all of our music videos. Matt and I work together as an interpreting team on the shows and it’s been amazing to see how much excitement and inspiration Matt brings to the Deaf audience. For many of them, Chance’s show is the very first concert they’ve ever attended as they normally have to go through so much to get an interpreter hired by venues so they often give up or just don’t even try.
To have an artist not only hand pick and hire his interpreters but also provide 50 front row tickets where they can feel and see everything is huge. We are hoping that together Chance the Rapper and DEAFinitely Dope will create a movement that will not only change the concert experience for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals, but also spread awareness about the 35 million Deaf/HOH Americans who fight for access and inclusion on a daily basis.