Super Bowl Halftime Show to Include Deaf Rappers for the 1st Time in 50 Years

Rapper/producer Dr. Dre made NFL Super Bowl history by adding two deaf rappers to the halftime show line-up. Artists Sean Forbes and Warren “WaWa” Snipe will join Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar to sign the performance in American Sign Language.

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In the entirety of its 50-year history, 2022 will mark the first year that American Sign Language interpreters are making a halftime show appearance.

Snipe isn’t a newcomer when it comes to signing on a big stage, however. He previously interpreted at the 2021 Super Bowl between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. At that game, Snipe interpreted Jazmine Sullivan’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Eric Church’s performance of “America the Beautiful.”

Snipe’s rapping career began in 2005 under a genre he calls dip-hop, or hip-hop through deaf eyes. Early in his fascination with hip-hop, he would ask his sister to write the lyrics down and lip-sync so he could read the lyrics and lip-read. He then learned to follow along with the lyrics by feeling the beat through the speakers.

“I’m opening the door into my world. It’s me,” Snipe said. “When hip-hop first started I was there, and I immersed myself. I wrote poems and those poems became rap lyrics that I would rehearse. Since then I’ve never stopped.

“For myself and the deaf community, I have the drive and the passion to make a difference. I want the hearing community to have more exposure to the deaf community, so they can see what deaf people can do, and what we have to offer. I want to squash the myths,” he said.

Forbes also champions this desire to squash the myths surrounding the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Being from Detroit and following in the footsteps of greats, like Eminem, his goal is to have fun and do away with the stigma surrounding the deaf community.

“My goal is to get out there, show what we can do, and have fun. And I want to open the door for other deaf performers,” Forbes said.

Snipe believes this world deserves to be the best version it has ever been. He says the music industry is much more beautifully diverse now, and more music would be created if deaf musicians were given a chance.

“Deaf musicians are here—don’t ignore us,” Snipe stated.

The halftime show takes place during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on Sunday, February 13. Snipe and Forbes will accompany some of the biggest West Coast rap icons of all time, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and the aforementioned artists.

The halftime show is likely to begin just after 8 p.m. EST (depending on the length of the first half of the game between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals). The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. EST. 

Watch the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show Official Trailer below.

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