ASL performer turns Super Bowl appearance into advocacy opportunity


TAMPA, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 07: Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church perform the national anthem in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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TAMPA, Fla. — He wasn’t the focus of “The Star-Spangled Banner” or “America the Beautiful,” but he turned both into an amazing performance all his own.

Warren “Wawa” Snipe is a deaf rapper and recording artist from the Washington, D.C. area. He also performed both songs in American Sign Language during Super Bowl LV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He said he practiced for the performance by signing to songs with tempos and styles similar to what Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan sing.

Wawa has developed his own niche, known as Dip Hop, according to the National Association of the Deaf. The organization describes it as “a mesmerizing blend of audio and imagery.”

He said his 2016 album, Deaf: So What?! was designed to showcase music to all, including those who are deaf.

Wawa is also an author and an actor.

The National Association of the Deaf, and other organizations, hoped that Wawa’s performance would be shown in its entirety during both The National Anthem and “America the Beautiful.” It’s something they’ve criticized in the past saying everyone should have equal access during a broadcast. The entire performance was not shown live, but The National Association of the Deaf added both performances to its YouTube Channel.

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