AUSTIN (KXAN) — Chance the Rapper announced that he will now have American Sign Language interpreters for the remainder of his spring 2017 Be Encouraged tour in order to make sure his shows are more inclusive for his fan who are deaf or hard of hearing. In some cases, the ASL interpreters almost steal the entire show from their hip-hop counterparts!
“We will have interpreters at the show, which will be a new thing going forward,” Chance stated on social media before his performance in Tampa, Fla. earlier this month.
Houston-based Matthew Maxey is the founder of DEAFinitely Dope and is one of the interpreters joining the tour. Maxey confirmed that not only will he be on touring the U.S. with Chance the Rapper, but he’ll also be joining him at the Austin City Limits Music Festival where Chance is a headliner. He says that this is historic because it allows him to break a song down even further for fans who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“Am ASL interpreter is someone that can hear and interpret what’s being said in real time, while a deaf interpreter is one that is immersed in deaf culture, usually using cultural appropriate signs and breaks down the ASL even more than a regular interpreter would,” explains Maxey. I have to know the songs, the interpreter is more for unscripted material, so while I can pick up some things on the fly and interpret, my hearing loss prevents me from doing it consistently with ease, so I must know the song and to interpret I must use eye contact which is impossible during a concert.”
Chance the Rapper will be playing both weekends of Austin City Limits, which kicks off on Oct. 6.