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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Viral videos of American Sign Language (ASL) hip hop interpreters at music festivals have circulated the online mediascape, bringing attention to music interpreting, ASL, and Deaf culture. Hip hop interpreters create intersectional embodied texts challenging our assumed ideas of hip hop, Black masculinity, white femininity, and the connections between ASL, music, and Deaf people. Many hip hop interpreters are white women, which creates an interesting dynamic between interpreter and musical artist, specifically how both parties intersect and meet through their own expressions of hip hop music and culture. Using the concept of dialogical performance, this chapter provides textual analyses of a televised “sign language rap battle” and ASL interpretations of Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” and Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow.” An interpreter’s presence, and how she adds news layers of meaning to a song and to her identity in relation to a song and performance, is explored in each presented scenario.

Keywords: d/Deaf, American Sign Language, music interpreting, intersectionality, performance, music festival, dialogical performance, Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, Bonnaroo

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