Super Signing Performance

The big game was awesome!

I love the excitement of it including the game going into overtime, seeing all the big-time celebrities in the stands, and yes, Usher gave an awesome halftime show.

I also loved how the producers of the National Football League (NFL) went above and beyond to incorporate disability inclusion in the big event.

During the event, Daniel Durant, Anjel Pinero, and Shaheem Sanchez were all 2024 sign language interpreters. What made me even happier, all three are deaf. Often, when an opportunity is presented for disability awareness, a person without is chosen; but the NFL is changing the game and has been for a minute now.

Daniel, an actor who was in the award-winning movie CODA, did a great job signing the National Anthem. Anjel, who’s an actress and model signed, America the Beautiful. Both did an amazing job.

What stopped me in my tracks was Shaheem’s performance during the halftime show. Although, I didn’t see it in real time, I googled it and the boy got moves! Shaheem also signed Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Shaheem is a self-taught dancer who went deaf at four-years-old. Shaheem expresses that he wouldn’t let not being able to hear stop him from loving music and dancing. He’s an exceptional dancer. Shaheem learned how to move to the beat from feeling the vibrations of the music.

Watching Shaheem’s performance had me mesmerized for not only did he sign all the songs, he also, danced. It’s one thing to just see someone going through the motion’s verses seeing someone perform. Preforming is on a higher level and that’s where Shaheem was.

Of course, no performance goes through without hiccups. Don’t know why, but there was much talk about the three performances not being televised. It also seems that the link to watch Shaheem’s halftime performance didn’t work. To achieve full inclusion, the power that be, must try and commit to making sure it’s a priority. Is the world totally there yet? Probably not, so we as advocates, must keep plowing ahead and keeping it at the forefront so it’s never forgotten.

I’ve heard this year’s big game was the most televised ever. This is a milestone to me because it means many more people were introduced to the deaf community. That’s truly a win in my book.

If you didn’t catch Daniel, Anjel, and Shaheem’s performance, I highly recommend you google them for they’re worth watching.

I’m hopeful that as the world turns, there will be many more performers showcasing their talents at big events. For now, whoever can shatter the glass ceiling for others to follow, I’m here to support their efforts.

You can also show your support by proactively spreading disability awareness wherever and whenever you can.

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