While I’m still very much concerned and on edge about news about the recent Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago being a potential COVID-19 superspreader event, I admit there is related news with much more lighthearted energy. Besides, we need occasional breaks from the stress.
On Aug. 1, Megan Thee Stallion took the stage and, of course, performed Cardi B’s hit song—where Megan is featured—“WAP.” While Meg is always expected to give a great show, it was one American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter who actually stole the show for a moment.
Recently, a clip from the Lollapalooza performance went viral on Twitter, with the focus zoomed-in on a very animated ASL interpreter translating the song for deaf and hard-of-hearing audience members as Meg performed the popular single.
Particularly, the clip showed the interpreter translating the following lyrics: “I don’t wanna spit, I wanna gulp / I wanna gag, I wanna choke / I want you to touch that lil’ dangly thing that swing in the back of my throat.”
According to the L.A. Times, that ASL interpreter is Kelly Kurdi, who is an ongoing advocate for greater accessibility within the live music scene.
“Seeing an interpreter at a concert shouldn’t be shocking. Seeing a deaf interpreter on tour with every artist should be the norm,” Kurdi said.
The very spirited rendition certainly helped the video go viral. However, if you want to thank the person who created this specific interpretation of “WAP,” that should be directed to dancer Raven Sutton—and Kurdi wants to make sure we all know it.
First of all, a very personal thank you goes out to Sutton who basically answered my immediate question on whether there is a special sign for “WAP” or if one spells out the letters.
Along with creating the “WAP” interpretation, Sutton has provided a lot of resources among the deaf community, including an educational video on the difference between ASL for white people and Black people. Yes, there is a Black sign language.
“Thanks for the love on my page from hearing people but I’m just an interpreter passionate about providing access to a community I love and have learned everything from,” Kurdi captioned via Instagram, tagging Sutton as well as amplifying other deaf creators, teachers and influencers who have contributed to the growing accessibility via social media.
You can check out footage from Meg’s Lollapalooza performance of “WAP” below: