The upcoming Super Bowl halftime show will be monumental for several reasons. In addition to being the first Hip-Hop showcase in the game’s 56-year history, it will also be the first time that the NFL has incorporated sign-language performances as part of the show.
Sean Forbes and Warren “Wawa” Snipe are two deaf rappers assisting with the headliners’ songs. However, this will be more than just two ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters. They’re adding their touches to the music as well.
“The doors to accessibility are busted wide open with something like this,” Forbes said to the Detroit Free Press.
Plus, Forbes’ appearance will be very fitting considering his long-time ties to Eminem and Detroit Hip-Hop. Forbes’ father once worked at 54 Sound Studio, a famed location where Em recorded material when he was starting his career.
In 2005, Sean had the opportunity to show Eminem a video of his ASL interpretation of his Oscar-winning record, “Lose Yourself.” Forbes explains that he feels the rhythm through bass vibrations and couples it with the lyrics to experience a song.
From there, he went to play a significant role in launching the Deaf Performing Arts Network, which primarily focused on creating ASL interpretations of mainstream popular music. And as a solo artist, Forbes toured and collaborated with actress Marlee Matlin, thus genuinely establishing himself as an ASL performer.
When asked about his hopes for the performance next Sunday, Forbes told the press, “My goal is to get out there, show what we can do, and have fun,” Forbes said. “And I want to open the door for other deaf performers.”
The show in the middle of the big game will be game-changing, and Sean Forbes and Warren Snipe are two reasons why. Super Bowl LVI takes place on Sunday, February 13, from SoFi stadium in Los Angeles.