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Rapper Warren “Wawa” Snipe on hip-hop in the Deaf community

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Warren “Wawa” Snipe, one of the ASL interpreters in “Becoming Helen Keller,” raps under a genre he calls “Dip-Hop,” or hip-hop through Deaf eyes. With Dip-Hop, Snipe wants to bridge the gap between the Deaf and hearing communities. “Deaf musicians are here. Don’t ignore us.”

TRANSCRIPT

♪ Baby baby I know it's real ♪
♪ But I can't believe that God brought to life ♪
♪ Prayers into life I can't believe ♪
♪ Made me a better man ♪
♪ Woo yeah ♪
♪ You heard from me ♪
♪ I ain't trippin' 'cause I know where I'm gonna be ♪
♪ Please ♪

[Translator] My name is Warren Snipe. But you can call me Wawa. This is how you sign my name. Music has always been my thing.

♪ She's looking at me funny ♪
♪ 'cause my signs were very clumsy ♪
♪ Started learning just a month ago ♪
♪ Teachers think I'm terrible. ♪
♪ Wonder if she like to dance ♪
♪ Should I ask her ♪

[Translator] Dip-Hop is hip-hop through Deaf eyes. And I'm opening the door into my world. It's me. So you can see the world through my eyes. Wawa's world. When hip-hop first started, I was there. And I immersed myself. Did I understand the music? No. But I wanted to. So I asked my sister to write the lyrics down for me. She did, and then she would play the song and lip sync. So that way I could read the lyrics and lip read, and then I would feel the rhythm through the speakers so I could follow along.

♪ Rubble every day is full of action ♪
♪ Fascinating language ♪
♪ Wish it came with closed captions ♪
♪ I wanna say I like her ♪
♪ Maybe she can teach me how ♪
♪ So I made a ♪

[Translator] I wrote poems, and those poems became rap lyrics that I would rehearse, and that led to producing music. And since then, I've never stopped. It's something I have been doing for a long time.

♪ Oh say ♪
♪ Can you see ♪
♪ By the dawn's early light ♪
♪ What so gallantly ♪

[Translator] So for myself and the Deaf community, as an actor and as a musician, I have the drive and the passion to make a difference. I want the hearing community to have more exposure to the Deaf community, so they can see what Deaf people can do and what we have to offer. I want to squash the myths.

♪ Oh say does that star spangled banner yet♪

[Translator] Deaf people are here. Don't ignore us. Deaf musicians are here. Don't ignore us. We welcome you to our world. It's the 21st century, and the time is now.

♪ And the home of the ♪
♪ Brave ♪

[Audio Description] Logo, PBS. Watch on the PBS Video App.

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