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ASL performer Wawa steals the show with national anthem performance during Super Bowl

He performed the national anthem along with Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church and also performed E.R.'s rendition of 'America the Beautiful.'

ASL performer Wawa steals the show with national anthem performance during Super Bowl
Wawa snipe/Screenshot/CBS

Warren “Wawa” Snipe is the name on everyone's lips after performing the national anthem in American Sign Language (ASL) prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl game. While Grammy nominees Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church performed the national anthem, "Wawa" brought the tunes alive with his interpretation through ASL. He could be seen smiling and dancing as Sullivan and Church sang. Snipe, who's deaf, also performed during H.E.R.'s rendition of America the Beautiful and has won American hearts. Warren Snipe is a creative artist who acts, creates, performs music, and more. He is also a football fan and a rapper, and the Super Bowl served as the dream platform for Snipe. He said he practiced by studying how this year's singers typically perform and inculcated that into his performance match the tenor, rhythm, and tempo of how singers perform the songs. "It was always my dream to perform at the Super Bowl, and I would love to be able to perform the halftime show in ASL too," said Snipe, reported CBS News prior to the game. He said he practiced by studying how this year's singers typically perform. 



Snipe labels his musical genre "dip hop," meaning "hip hop through deaf eyes." He developed the style with a mix of audio and images in the late 1990s. "Hip Hop is the hearing culture version, and it is necessary to show a Deaf Culture version of Hip Hop," he said. "Dip Hop is a different genre to help hearing people understand Deaf Culture as well as for Deaf people to understand Hip Hop."


While the CBS cameras focussed predominantly on Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church, it did intercut to Warren Snipe, and he won the hearts of viewers with many urging CBS to show his performance in full in an inset box during the show. One person tweeted: Dear CBS, having the sign language interpreter in a box on the screen during the singing for those at home also would make a lot of individuals happy. The Super Bowl has had an ASL performer since 1992 while the NFL has included an ASL performer since 2009, according to Howard A. Rosenblum, the NAD's chief executive officer and director of legal services, reported CBS News. 


Snipe said it was important to have an ASL performer at these events for one important purpose "Access. Simple as that." He said everyone deserves to enjoy these iconic tracks. "The Deaf and Hard of Hearing community need access to these iconic songs just like everyone else," said Snipe. "To those who are hearing, try watching television with the sound and captions off, and you'll experience inaccessibility. Why wouldn't you want to make everything accessible to everyone, including Deaf and Hard of Hearing people?"


"In addition, every live event should ensure that any ASL performance or interpretation is visually displayed on large screens within the event so that everyone can see it, as well as accurate captioning provided by professionals available throughout the event for all to see," said Howard A. Rosenblum, the NAD's chief executive officer. "Both ASL and captioning are needed as each serves different segments of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community – with some being fluent only in English or ASL, and others being fluent in both." Rosenblum is hoping there comes a day when the ASL performances are aired in their entirety on television. "We do look forward to that day. We appreciate the efforts by the NFL to push sports accessibility to new heights," said Rosenblum. The NAD posted clips of Snipe's performances on its YouTube page following the live broadcast. 


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