When images of the more than 380,000 people packed into Chicago’s Grant Park over the weekend were beamed across the world, people took note. The massive Lollapalooza event marked a triumphant return to music festivals littered with a star-studded lineup and near-unfathomable bevy of talent. But while Post Malone and Tyler, the Creator’s tore up the stage, it was an unknown star that shone brightest. Meet @Kelly4access, the ASL interpreter who went HAM during Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s iconic hit WAP.
— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) August 3, 2021
Now, as far as songs we’d most like to see translated into sign language, WAP rates pretty highly. The 2020 release’s constant and unapologetic references to gurgling man meat paint a visceral picture, one we can now thank Kelly4access for accurately articulating.
With lines like ‘Gobble me, swallow me, drip down the side of me’ and “I wanna gag, I wanna choke. I want you to touch that lil’ dangly thing that swings in the back of my throat’, WAP is a journey through the obscene. But not one to back down from a challenge, the ASL interpreter not only stepped up on the biggest stage, she dominated it.
A video posted online shows Kelly4access performing the hit song on Saturday night in front of a packed house. Standing side by side with performers Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, the interpreter perfectly captured the song in all its explicit glory. The hand actions are primal, the facials are sublime and the commitment is undeniable, proving that ASL interpreters are the true unsung heroes of the music industry.
Thankfully, Kelly addressed the performance on her Instagram after the video started to go viral and in a trademark legend status move, she used the opportunity to celebrate other deaf performers and members of the deaf community.
“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 on Instagram. “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. Seeing an interpreter at a concert shouldn’t be shocking. Seeing a deaf interpreter on tour with every artist should be the norm”.
Here’s to the interpreters, artists and creative pushing the envelope and creating more inclusive futures for everyone.