Chance The Rapper has announced he’s hired American Sign Language interpreters at his show at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Wednesday night. In a video making the announcement, which was interpreted to ASL, Chance The Rapper said it will be his first show with the interpreters.
The interpreters will be at all of his remaining tour stops. The group hired for the job is called DEAFinitely Dope. According to the group, Chance is the first rap artist to hire his own ASL interpreters for his shows.
"We've all been close to tears since we met him, because we just can't believe that he's willing to provide interpreters on his own," one of the interpreters, Kelly Kurdi, said.
Kurdi explained deaf people typically have to request an interpreter through the venue. It's unusual for the artist to hand pick and hire their own, as Chance did.
The GRAMMY-winning rapper saw DEAFinitely Dope founder Matt Maxey performing at a music festival. They met, and he asked Maxey and two other interpreters to join his tour.
Maxey is deaf himself. He started the company to give other rap fans like him the opportunity to enjoy live music even if they can't hear it.
"Ideas kept adding up and adding up and adding up, and I'm like, 'Hey why not make something for them too?'" he said.
Maxey said it's their job to capture a song's rhythm and feeling, as well as the artist's message.
Chance The Rapper is offering 50 free front row tickets to deaf and hard-of-hearing guests for the June 14 show. If you’d like to request tickets for the show, you can email Kurdi at DEAFinitelyDopebookings@outlook.com.