The video of ASL interpreter Kelly Kurdi enthusiastically translating the explicit song has been viewed over 11.9 million times in two days.
A video of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter translating Megan Thee Stallion's incredibly popular "WAP" is going viral on social media after a 20-year-old concertgoer posted the clip on TikTok. Captured at Lollapalooza by an attendee named Guilherme Vital Senise da Silva, the clip — which has been viewed over 11.9 million times in the span of two days — shows sign language interpreter Kelly Kurdi enthusiastically translating the explicit song for those deaf or hard of hearing. "I decided to record her because I am really a fan of music interpreters," da Silva told BuzzFeed News. "I've [taken] some Brazilian Sign Language classes before, so I was trying to see how she was going to sign every song of that concert."
EXCUSE ME BUT THE SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER DURING MEGAN’S PERFORMANCE OF WAP MUST BE SEEN pic.twitter.com/6p590p5YS2— Alexa Lisitza (@AlexaLisitza) August 3, 2021
Da Silva explained that he filmed every second of the performances by Megan and Kurdi at the music festival over the weekend, but shared only one particular clip on TikTok because Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly happened to walk by as he filmed. However, the internet had eyes only for Kurdi as many admired her dedication to translating the song. "I love videos like this because they demonstrate a level of talent and professionalism which is equal to the original artists themselves, and it has taken rap and related genres to bring them to the fore in public awareness. The speed, expressiveness, and being 100% in sync," tweeted @ragle.
I consulted a professional ASL interpreter this shit ain’t made up neither!!!! pic.twitter.com/rkQX4ledNj— David Allan Hoe (@honkytonkcay) August 4, 2021
"That's where you know the interpreter is actually interpreting, and not just signing the lyrics. There's much more that goes in a performance than just lyrics, and interpreters like this one really convey the tone as well," commented @ho_squishy. Following the viral response to the video, Kurdi thanked everyone in an Instagram post while also amplifying the work of ASL teachers and calling attention to deaf influencers and content creators. "If you're new to my page you'll quickly see this is a space meant to amplify the work of Deaf creators and to provide access to social media content for the Deaf community," she wrote.
"I'm a hearing interpreter so I do not teach. In this post, I will direct you to some amazing Deaf ASL teachers, Deaf influencers, and other Deaf content creators," Kurdi continued. "Do your part to make the world more accessible and caption your content. Provide ASL interpreters whenever possible. Support Deaf creators. And if you're still wondering why deaf and hard of hearing people go to concerts follow these pages and learn something new." She then recommended several creators on Instagram, including @freelove19xx, @_jtay_,@deafinitelydope, @redmenace11, and @slntwrlddd.
Da Silva said that while he's glad his video has reached and entertained so many, he was struck by comments from people who didn't seem to understand ASL. This was evident in comments that joked about the cruder gestures, including one that reads: "Why was that more inappropriate than the actual song." However, da Silva now hopes netizens will take this as an opportunity to learn about sign language and the culture around it. He added that he has been in touch with Kurdi and that he'd told her that he would like to team up with her to teach the public about the Deaf community. "She's down for it," he said.
Sign Language Interpreters are always MVPs in my book. pic.twitter.com/4pc4bfLf7E— Lee A. Kirabo (Kee-rah-boe) (@LeeTheYeen) August 3, 2021
I wish hearing people got this excited about sign language because of their solidarity with Deaf people, and not because they think an interpreter is hot or funny, or think sign language is just additional etertainment for them.— Hay Smith 🦻 (@hayxsmith) August 3, 2021