I'm Wawa, a DEAF rapper, actor, choreographer, and 3rd degree black belt. Hello, Reddit! AMA!
Hello, Reddit! My name is Wawa, and I am a deaf (I rock a cochlear implant, a.k.a. 'CI') rapper, actor, dancer/choreographer, and 3rd degree black belt in kung fu (wushu)! I released my album 'DEAF: So What?!' earlier this month and will be hanging out for a few hours am here to promote understanding of deaf culture and deaf musicians. Ask me anything!
My "Hello, Reddit!" video: https://youtu.be/Z9_zyIHNcCI
Here's a stream of 'Plantation', a track off of 'DEAF: So What?!'.: http://wawa.bandzoogle.com/track/1089580/plantation?autostart=true
Here's another stream - 'Faceless Man', which is a song about my father, who dropped out of the picture when I was six. I haven't seen him since and don't even remember what he looks like. http://wawa.bandzoogle.com/track/1087827/faceless-man-feat-adam-e?autostart=true
Some background information on me:
I was born in Philadelphia, PA and was born deaf. I later (after college) found out that I'm deaf by heritage. My mom wasn't given any resources regarding deaf schools or programs, etc., and was just told by my doctors that I would need to live with a hearing aid. I didn't even learn sign language until I was in college. Being deaf and not having a way to communicate with the world was tough.
I started college early at 17 and moved to DC to attend Gallaudet University. All I had with me was $200 and a suitcase with pants, six shirts, underwear, socks, sneakers, and $200 cash. I didn't know sign but I was ready for an adventure! During college I learned American Sign Language. BEST THING, hands down! I had craved a way to communicate all my life as I was nearly always missing out - enter ASL and suddenly I understood everything! BEST. THING. EVER.
I'm a professional actor and dancer (yeah, deaf folks can dance y'all!). I recently starred in the official music video for 'Fingers Crossed' by the R&B artist Maxwell. I was the main choreographer for two awesome dance companies and was an actor in residence for the famous CENTER STAGE theatre in Baltimore, MD. I have traveled and performed around the globe. I'm a 3rd degree Black belt in Kung Fu/Wushu.
Here is a short clip from a Facebook Live Q&A session yesterday where I talk about my musical influences, experiencing hip-hop as a young deaf person, and my first gig, where I was booted off-stage because I was a deaf rapper.
Yep, there's a lot to me but I'll let you guys ask the questions!
Links and stuff!
Web store: http://diphopwawa.com/store
'DEAF: So What?!' on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/deaf-so-what-!/id1150800454
DJ Nicar (my producer)'s site: http://djnicar.com
Video Responses to Questions:
Favorite rapper and why? What is that memory that you forever hold on to? https://youtu.be/GxyhLyiTZds
Hey WaWa, In my second semester of ASL, loving it, unfortunately it seems to take a bit longer than others to click with me. I also was given a sign name a couple weeks ago. How long did it take you to be fluent in ASL? Do you see success in those studying to translate? Thanks! https://youtu.be/L10DFdvnf6A
I can only think of two deaf actors (Marlee Matlin and ... googles Deanne Bray (from Heroes), and Nyle DiMarco as public figures. That seems like an awfully low number of people. As a deaf individual 'in the public eye', do you think that the hearing world is doing enough to include deaf individuals, especially in the public sector? What can we in the hearing world do to accommodate deaf individuals? Do you know of any resources the average person could make use of? (For instance I want to get some kind of sticker or button to put on a name badge at work to show that I can sign.) AND FINALLY -- Are there any deaf individuals you'd like to point out, in social media or otherwise in the public eye? Folks we should know about? https://youtu.be/uLp9B80gVgw
Hey Wawa. I'm a deaf swing dancer in my spare time (BTE/Severe-profound hearing). What is the inspiration behind your cheorography? Is there a specific style/cheographer that influenced you? https://youtu.be/2Lq7dvEmyHg
As an actor what is the best thing a director can do for you on set? https://youtu.be/Te3vQH7KRJc
Do you believe in God? https://youtu.be/LuABwhc75xo
All right, I'll ask it: Biggie, Tupac or Nas? https://youtu.be/3z1dBenRRjQ