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BTS Uses Sign Language in "Permission to Dance" Music Video

The boy band BTS released their latest song “Permission to Dance” today, and besides being a great beat to get moving to, the dance is also accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing people as well.

As Twitter user @tteokminnie, who was translating a tweet in Korea, pointed out, the dance in this music video incorporated more international versions of sign language. This is what the tweet says:

The ‘Permission to Dance’ music video features a ‘special’ choreography. It is a performance using international sign language*, and the movements which mean ‘to have fun’, ‘to dance’ and ‘peace’ are connected together.” The movement of scratching the body with the thumbs out and the other fingers half-bent means ‘fun’, and using one palm as a stage with two fingers of the other hand moving side to side means ‘dance’. Lastly, making a V with both hands is a symbol meaning ‘peace’. * to clarify, there is no real “international sign language” bc each country has its own. In this context, they mean it in a more global way (the signs are easy to understand and are similar across sign languages, ex. “dance” is same in ASL and JSL)

While BTS used signs that are used globally, there are many different forms of sign language. According to AI Media, there are between 138 to 300 forms of sign language used around the world. Just English has three: American Sign Language, British Sign Language, and Australian Sign Language. Human Rights Watch wrote on their website in 2019 that “more than 70 million deaf people around the world use sign languages to communicate.”

Sign language allows Deaf and some hard-of-hearing people to work, interact with each other, and have fun (which includes watching and dancing to BTS music videos). After the music video dropped, the Twitter account @deafarmyedu, which is a group of Deaf and hard of hearing BTS fans, tweeted out, “I’m screaming like heck!!!! I cannot I have no words. We won!!!!! ASL wins! Yes they did “dance” for ASL.” Other Twitter users who are Deaf or have Deaf family members have also tweeted out in their support for this move.

You can watch BTS’s “Permission to Dance” music video on YouTube.

Screenshot via YouTube/HYPE LABELS

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